Washington County schools paying students for Saturday School

Getting paid to attend high school might be unheard of. But that's what's happening in Washington County.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 7:01 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Washington County School Board officials have approved the use of a federal grant for their Saturday School program.

A school board member said the program is for 11th and 12th graders, at Vernon and Chipley High School students who are at risk of not graduating.

According to School Board documents, the grant approval was voted on in their January meeting. They are using a $390,000 intensive after-school and weekend academy grant.

“It is a federal program. It is part of the ESSER funds. So, the feds have approved this everyone has approved this. To us, this is thinking outside the box,” Superintendent Joseph Taylor said.

Thinking outside of the box also includes the students being paid $15 an hour when they attend, because they will be tutoring one another according to the superintendent.

“So, the students are brought in, and they tutor one another. That is the payment piece on it. Is that they are actually getting paid for being a tutor to another student,” Superintendent Taylor said.

But one school board member tells NewsChannel 7 that he disagrees with paying students who aren’t doing well.

“My son got to asking what was going on and I was telling him and explained the whole Saturday school to him. He looked at me and said dad I’ll just start failing and then they can pay me to go to school. I feel like that is going to be the mindset of a lot of kids you know,” Will “Tonka” Taylor, School Board member for District 4 said.

Will Taylor said he had no problem with the Saturday school program until paying students was brought into the picture.

“We were all in support of the teachers making extra pay and having the Saturday school and it was a good thing until they decided that they wanted to pay the kids to come,” Taylor said.

However, we are told the program has already started. Between the two high schools, Taylor said around 57 students are signed up. In addition to the pay, students receive breakfast and lunch. Bus transportation is also provided for those that need it.