Ohio state lawmakers are proposing bipartisan legislation that would reward students for going to school to not just fight “chronic absenteeism,” but also give students an incentive for showing up.
Reps. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, and Dani Isaacsohn, D-Cincinnati, on Tuesday, proposed their plan to launch a pilot program in the 2024-25 school year.
The program would be run by the State Department of Education and Workforce, which will provide cash transfers to select kindergarten and ninth-grade students for having high attendance rates.
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Schools throughout the state, if approved, will be able to express interest in the pilot program by applying to the department, and districts can submit two schools each, to be enrolled.
The department will be tasked with selecting at least one rural school and one urban school, and all participating schools are required to show they have chronic absenteeism in the highest quartile in the state, based on the most recent report cards.
Since the program would be a pilot, only 50% of the students would get payments, while the other 50% would be considered the control group.
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Every other week, the department will make $25 cash transfers to participating ninth grade students and parents or guardians of the kindergarten students with a 90% or higher attendance rate during that two-week period.
At the end of each quarter, participants with an attendance rate of 90% or higher will receive $150, then at the end of the school year, students will get $500 if they land in the same attendance percentage range.
The lawmakers are also proposing a graduation incentive pilot program that provides rewards to high school students from select schools during 2024-25.
The program targets improving graduation rates and offers students $250 for graduating from select schools, and up to $750 for students graduating with high GPAs.
The bill is currently being reviewed by a house committee.