Bastop ISD hopes shooting a brand new car will keep students in school

Bastrop ISD is using a bold new strategy to entice students to show up to class. District officials are hoping a shot at a brand new car could be a fun solution to the very real problem of chronic absenteeism.

“Imagine going to school every day, doing this, and getting a free car at the end of the year,” said Cedar Creek High School student Sophia Altamirano Newman.

Sames Bastrop Ford and Bastrop ISD held a sort of pep rally on Monday night to get the students excited about winning a brand new SUV.

“It’s a way of motivating them to go to school, take classes, get an education and buy a brand new car,” said Craig Murphy, general manager of Sames Bastrop Ford.

The key to this 2022 Ford EcoSport? A perfect attendance record, or at least almost perfect.

“Every six weeks, if a student has perfect attendance every class period, every day, they will receive a voucher, said Bastrop Assistant Superintendent Kristi Lee. “The longer you are here and achieve perfect attendance, the more vouchers you will receive to enter the draw at the end of the school year.”

The new surge comes amid a recent spike in absenteeism. Managers say it’s been particularly bad after COVID.

“We really had a hard time getting the kids back there,” said Kasie Stagman, principal of Cedar Creek High School. “When we see children not going to school, it can affect their credits and prevent them from graduating.”

“Being in school every day is what really matters,” Lee said.

The students we spoke to say they are quite confident that a car incentive could work well.

“I think that’s another benefit for them to go to school, do the work and show up,” said Liliana Roberts, a junior from Cedar Creek High School.

The contest is open to students in grades 9-12. Some say it could even lead to some rivalry between participating schools: Bastrop High School, Cedar Creek High School, and Colorado River Collegiate Academy.

“I think it’s going to get really serious,” Roberts said.

But if you think a car contest means the end of “senior skip day”, think again.

“I feel like it’s a senior thing. It’s a tradition and it’s a way to be with all your friends,” Roberts said. “I don’t think people are going to skip senior captains day.”

In addition to the free car from Sames Ford, Prosperity Bank actually pays the tax and the title. The winner of the new SUV will be announced in May during the graduation party.

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