On a cool and sunny autumn afternoon, hundreds of students Wednesday were walking around the track at Green Valley High School to raise money for the science department.
Scott Panik, a school science teacher, said the annual fundraiser generates about $5,000 to $7,000 for supplies such as laptop computers.
Although Panik said the fundraiser was an effort to make the science department more self-sufficient during the economic slump, some parents have criticized it for using extra credit as an incentive. To participate, students must raise a minimum of $15.
John Erickson, a parent, said associating extra credit with a fundraiser cheapens education, but Clark County School District Superintendent Walt Rulffes and Area 2 Associate Superintendent Robert Alfaro were unaware of any district policy forbidding it.
District guidelines allow teachers to offer extra credit if the work is based on curriculum.
Students walking for science cannot get extra credit if they do not perform the required academic exercises, such as calculating how many calories they are burning.
District officials said it would be a different situation if there were not an academic component.
Teachers are not supposed to give away extra credit to students who bring in class supplies, such as paper towels for the science lab.
Deanna Wright, the School Board member who represents Green Valley, expressed mild concern.
“We have to be very careful about which direction we’re going,” Wright said. But school officials said Green Valley has offered alternatives to the fundraising, such as allowing students to participate if they perform a school service project.
Also, students could write a five-page paper to earn the same credit.
Contact reporter James Haug at jhaug@reviewjournal .com or 702-374-7917.