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Charter school: Enroll here, get a free Nintendo DSi

BRADENTON, Florida -- Would you transfer your child to a new school if it meant receiving a portable gaming system in return?

The Manatee School of Arts & Sciences is offering a free Nintendo DSi to families who sign their children up this week. The deadline coincides with when the state will start surveying schools, deciding funding based on how many students are enrolled. Each additional full-time student earns a school about $6,300, enough to buy about 42 Nintendo DSis. 

The school bought them a couple years ago to use in the classroom. No one has taken advantage of the offer yet.

Is it a fair way to attract students, or a gimmick? It depends on who you ask.

Manatee County School Board member Julie Aranibar told 10 News off-camera that her biggest concern is that incentives like this could attract families to schools for the wrong reasons.

During the 2011-2012 school year, Manatee School of Arts & Sciences earned a "C" grade from the state based on test scores. The prior school year, the school was given a "D."

Repeated calls to the school were answered with an email from Principal Miriam Jolly. "As with any school, enrollment is our lifeblood," part of the email read. "Since we already had the Nintendos in our possession, we simply decided to use them as an appropriate marketing tool in order to attract prospects."

"Our only intent was to encourage students and their parents to 'take a look' at the Manatee School of Arts & Sciences to see what the school has to offer, including the possibility of having a Nintendo DSi-XL for use at home for supplemental learning," Jolly said.

Some parents of current students like the idea.

"I think it's great," said Deborah Owen.

And you know what kids think about seeing a free Nintendo program at their school. "I would because I want one," said second grader Jessica Owen. "It would help me."


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