An additional $17,000 will be collected by the Redwood City Elementary School District after an increase in students attending school in March because of the potential to win an iPod Touch.
Raul Parungao, the district’s chief business official, said the contest, which lasted all of March, did entice children to come to school.
“Seventeen thousand seems worth it,” he said of the contest. “Every dollar counts in this environment. Especially with the state budget crisis, this certainly helps.”
Redwood City is facing a budget deficit of up to $10.6 million next school year. The district operates on a budget of nearly $80 million. No money was spent on purchasing the devices. The district received an iPod with each of the 10 new laptops it purchased in the fall.
The contest was introduced in February to increase attendance. Any student who had perfect attendance for one month would be entered into a drawing to win one of two iPod Touches. That drawing will happen this month.
The Redwood City Elementary School District is a revenue-limit district, which means the district receives funding from the state based on attendance. Therefore, the more students in class, the more funding the district will receive.
An estimated 9,000 students are enrolled in the district’s 17 schools. All were eligible to participate in the contest.
In March, an estimated 277 additional students showed up for class from the previous two months. According to Parungao, the average number of students in January and February who had perfect attendance was 4,945.
In March, the contest helped boost that number to 5,172, giving the district an estimated $17,724 more that month.
This money is small in comparison, Parungao said, but every little bit helps.
Though the contest seemed innocent enough, school board President Dennis McBride said the district cannot lose focus of the main goal: to teach children.
“It’s really good how we had more kids into the classroom,” he said. “But everyone is talking about revenue. We cannot forget about educating them.”
Redwood City Elementary School District students who had perfect attendance in March were eligible to win an iPod Touch.
Average perfect attendance from January and February: 4,945
Perfect attendance in March: 5,172
Increase in perfect attendance: 227
Number of school days in March: 20
Average days attended per month: 17.9
Funding per student per day: $4,726.33
Increase in funding due to iPod Touch drawing: $17,724
Source: Redwood City Elementary School District