The Paintsville Independent Schools District is enjoying improved attendance at both the elementary and high school levels, officials announced during Monday’s meeting of the Paintsville Board of Education.

District Director of Pupil Personnel Jami Ward attributed the increased attendance to newly-enacted incentive programs, namely gift cards donated by local businesses to be given to students with good attendance.

According to Ward, the district has received nearly $1,000 in gift cards and merchandise since the beginning of school this year, some of which have already been given to students and have created a “buzz” among students and helped increase attendance.

“There’s 96.63 percent attendance at the elementary, and 95.70 (percent) for the high school,” Ward said. “We’re trying to be very proactive with attendance, we’re doing home visits, we’re trying to stay on top of that early, we’ve been communicating with parents and students, we’ve been working with both principals and the family resource center director and we’ve been trying to really catch that quick this school year. “

According to board members, those statistics represent a three-percent and four-percent increase in general attendance at the elementary and high schools, respectively.

Ward said the first month of incentives were sponsored by Bob Evans in the form of a $25 gift card for one student at each school, selected in a random pool and presented to each student by the principals at each school.

“So we got all the students with perfect attendance, did a random pool, and got a student and the principals presented them with those gift cards,” Ward said. “So, there’s a buzz about that around, the kids are really excited and we’re hoping that works.”

Board member Joe Porter asked about the additional funds that percentage would secure for the school, and he and Ward discussed the increase in funds that improvement in attendance would provide, concluding that rate should provide nearly $90,000 in additional funds.

“The other side of that is, if kids are in school, they’re learning,” said Superintendent David Gibson.

The Paintsville Independent Schools Board of Education meets on the first Monday of each month, but met this Monday due to the Labor Day holiday last week. All meetings are open to the public and hosted at the district’s central administrative building on Second Street at 5 p.m.

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