With enrollment down, Capitol High this year devised a novel strategy: Pay $100 to anyone who successfully refers a new student.
“When your referral enrolls at the school, confirms that you enrolled them, and stays enrolled until October 1, 2010, you will receive a $100 Referral Award,” reads a flier issued by the school.
October 1 was the day that the state of Louisiana uses to count the number of students that enroll in all public schools. The count taken that day, as well as one taken Feb. 1, determine about 40 percent of the funding public schools receive. Each child represents about $4,000 in state money.
On Friday, the school, now known as Capitol High Academy, had just 319 students enrolled, down 78 from a year ago.
The high school, at 1023 N. 23rd St., was taken over by the state in 2008 for chronic low academic performance. The local nonprofit group, 100 Black Men of Baton Rouge, got the charter to run the school instead and hired the for-profit school giant EdisonLearning to run it.
In 1999, Capitol High had 1,004 students. It had just 380 students when EdisonLearning arrived and has continued to lose students since.
Michael Serpe, a spokesman for EdisonLearning, said that “Circle of Friends Student Referral Program,” is something the New York City-based company has tried sporadically to boost enrollment at some of its schools throughout the country.
“There’s nothing that’s as good at getting people’s attention as to offer them something,” Serpe said.
Serpe said the flier in Baton Rouge was circulated only among parents and staff, there were no takers and no money was paid out. If there had been takers, the $100 would have been paid out by the company not the school, he said…
Capitol High Academy
FOCUS TURNS TO ENROLLMENT; CAPITOL HIGH OFFERS REFERRAL FEE, October 6, 2010, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)