Points for Learning
School District 25 joins national program to help raise extra funds
While the dour economy has painted a rather ugly picture for public education, schools might soften the blows of future budget cuts with the financial support of their students and local businesses.
Pocatello School District 25 decided to take part in the Learning Point Rewards program last year. The program, which is operated by a company based out of Orem, Utah, allows students and parents to make purchases at local businesses, which in turn share a small percentage of the profits with the school that the customer is affiliated with.
The purchase also returns points to the buyer, who can use the accumulated rewards to buy a number of prizes, including video game consoles, laptops and flat screen televisions. The points are covered by a small percentage of the customer’s purchase.
Each customer purchase is tracked with the help of a Learning Point rewards card, which businesses use to give money back to the schools.
While its company is based out of Orem, the first schools to take part in Learning Point were in Idaho Falls.
“We are currently not in every state, but it’s definitely a nationwide program,” said Christopher McMahon, executive vice president of Learning Point in Hawaii. “And we have representatives in each part of the counties we’re in that recruit business.”
He said Learning Point tries to target as many businesses as possible.
For example, Pocatello businesses participating in the program include Mama Inez, Big O Tires and Grease Monkey.
Calls were made to a few business owners Friday, but they couldn’t be reached.
While all schools in District 25 are taking part in Learning Point, the program was initially advertised to high and middle schoolers. “They primarily focused their initial efforts on secondary students because those are the ones who are out there spending the money,” said Shelley Allen, a District 25 spokeswoman.
Allen said the number of businesses taking part in Learning Point shows just how supportive the community has been toward the school district.
“(Tom) Luna, (Idaho’s superintendent of public instruction) has actually gotten behind this program,” she said, “and a couple of our schools are getting pretty sizable donations from the program.”
January 23, 2010