San Diego Unified students could get prizes for going to class

Posted at 6:04 PM, Aug 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 19:26:30-04

SAN DIEGO - School starts Monday for more than 100,000 students in the San Diego Unified School District, and a new plan could help make sure students get to class throughout the school year.

Fourteen-year-old David Nguyen is excited about starting his freshman year at Hoover High School.

"They say, 'I'm too lazy,' 'I'm sleepy,' … they make excuses and stuff," Nguyen said of some fellow students.

RELATED: Back to School resources | San Diego Unified Parent Portal

Nguyen is in a robotics summer program and hopes to either go to MIT or San Diego State.

Now, students may have a renewed reason to go class -- prizes.

San Diego Unified is teaming up with the United Way to look for local businesses who would encourage students to go to school by giving away prizes.

"We're looking for community partners to offer a free slice of pizza or an ice cream cone, or discounts at the supermarket, for those improvements," said Aimee Zeitz, United Way's director of impact.

State data shows attendance in the district is down each year since 2010, and that means less money. San Diego Unified loses $32 per absent student per day. A 1 percent increase in attendance means $6 million more in revenue for the district.

In a statement, SD Unified said the program is not about the money: "Attendance is not a question of revenue for our school community; it is a question of achievement. We want to boost attendance, so every one of our students can achieve to their fullest potential."

Local businesses who want to get involved can contact the United Way's San Diego office.