CINCINNATI, Ohio (CBS Cleveland) — A Cincinnati high school is paying its students to come to school.
The Dohn Community High School has launched a $40,000 incentive program to get students to come to class.
The school’s CEO Ken Furrier told CBS Cleveland that students will get Visa gift cards for showing up everyday for school, being on time for class and not getting into trouble. Seniors would get $25 while underclassmen would get $10.
The school would also put $5 into a savings account for the student that earns a gift card.
“Our student population is 90 percent poverty,” Furrier told CBS Cleveland. “Money is important to them. We can’t teach them if they’re not here.”
Despite taking criticism for the program, Furrier brushes it aside.
“I think the thing that many parents have to realize is that these kids are very poor,” Furrier said. “They don’t have all the benefits suburban kids have.”
Dohn students have come around to the idea, excited about being rewarded for coming to school.
“I’m very excited to get the money,” 16-year-old student Arneqka Lester told the paper. “It makes me want to come to school on time, not that I don’t. But some students don’t have the money and this will help them. It’s a good idea.”
The school is trying out this new idea after the Ohio Department of Education designated the school an “academic emergency” on its report card. About 14 percent of students graduated from Dohn during the 2010-2011 school year.
Furrier said the program — which began Monday — has already seen benefits. Class attendance yesterday was up by 15 percent compared to Friday.