Schools across Kentucky raising dropout age - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Schools across Kentucky raising dropout age

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KENTUCKY (WFIE) -

Governor Steve Beshear, First Lady Jane Beshear and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday today commended school boards across Kentucky that raced to adopt the new "Graduate Kentucky" standard, keeping students in school until they earn a high school diploma or turn 18. 

Just two weeks after they could vote to raise the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18, 96 school districts have adopted the policy and more are in the process of approving it.

"After five years of hard work by Commissioner Holliday, the First Lady and others to implement raising the compulsory graduation age to 18, I am overwhelmed by the support our school boards have shown by racing to adopt this policy," said Gov. Beshear.  "We know that keeping our students in school will not only offer them a better future, but will ensure that Kentucky has a better-trained, better-prepared workforce that will benefit the state for decades to come.  Implementing this important policy shows that Kentucky puts a high value on education by putting faith in our students."

Senate Bill 97 (SB 97), known as the "Graduate Kentucky" bill, passed earlier this year and phases in an increase in the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18, amending the school attendance law created in 1934.

Students who graduate from an accredited or an approved four-year high school before they turn 18 are exempt from the new policy, Gov. Beshear noted. 

SB 97 made adoption voluntary until 55 percent—or 96—of the state's school districts adopt the policy.  Since that threshold has been reached, the remainder of Kentucky's 173 districts must now adopt and implement a compulsory attendance age of 18 no later than the 2017-18 school year.

Two weeks ago, leaders launched "Blitz to 96" – an effort to get 96 school districts to adopt the higher compulsory attendance age as soon as possible.  June 25 was the first day local boards of education could adopt the "Graduate Kentucky" standard; within the first 48 hours, 58 districts had voted to implement the policy and within the first week, 75 districts had done so.

"We achieved our goal much faster than we anticipated," said Mrs. Beshear, who championed the ‘Graduate Kentucky' legislation. "The effort speaks so highly of the dedicated school boards, administrators, parents, teachers and communities who have made high school graduation a top priority for our students."

Planning grants of $10,000 are being provided through the Kentucky Department of Education to the first 96 school districts that joined the effort to reach the 55 percent threshold. The funds are designed to be used to plan for full implementation of the policy in the 2015-16 school year. 

"We are excited that so many of our boards and districts have taken quick action to raise the compulsory school attendance age to 18," Commissioner Holliday said. "Although we have reached the maximum number of planning grants that we can fund, we would still encourage all districts to pass a policy this school year so that more students will stay in school and on track to college- and career-readiness at an earlier date. It is the right thing to do for our students and the right thing for Kentucky."

Research shows that high school graduates live longer, are less likely to be teen parents, and are more likely to raise healthier, better-educated children. High school graduates are also less likely to commit crimes, rely on government healthcare or use other public services.

A list of school districts which have adopted the new compulsory attendance age follows, as reported to the Kentucky Department of Education through its online system as of 12:46 p.m. on July 9. 

1.

Adair County

33.

Estill County

65.

Mayfield Independent 

2.

Augusta Independent

34.

Floyd County

66.

McCracken County

3.

Barbourville Independent

35.

Franklin County

67.

Menifee County

4.

Barren County 

36.

Fulton County

68.

Mercer County

5.

Bath County

37.

Fulton Independent

69.

Metcalfe County

6.

Bell County 

38.

Garrard County

70.

Monroe County

7.

Bellevue Independent

39.

Glasgow Independent

71.

Montgomery County

8.

Berea Independent

40.

Graves County

72.

Morgan County

9.

Bourbon County

41.

Green County

73.

Murray Independent

10.

Bowling Green Independent

42.

Greenup County

74.

Nelson County

11.

Boyd County 

43.

Hancock County

75.

Nicholas County

12.

Boyle County 

44.

Hardin County 

76.

Owensboro Independent

13.

Bracken County

45

Harrison County

77.

Owsley County

14.

Breathitt County 

46.

Hart County 

78.

Paducah Independent

15.

Bullitt County 

47.

Hazard Independent

79.

Paris Independent

16

Burgin Independent

48.

Henry County 

80.

Pendleton County

17.

Campbellsville Independent

49.

Hopkins County 

81.

Powell County

18.

Carter County

50.

Jackson Independent

82.

Pulaski County

19.

Casey County

51.

Jefferson County

83.

Rowan County

20.

Christian County 

52.

Johnson County 

84.

Russell County 

21.

Clay County

53.

Kenton County

85.

Russell Independent

22.

Cloverport Independent

54.

Knox County

86.

Scott County

23.

Corbin Independent

55.

LaRue County 

87.

Simpson County 

24.

Covington Independent

56.

Lawrence County 

88

Somerset Independent

25.

Danville Independent

57.

Leslie County 

89.

Spencer County

26.

Dawson Springs Independent

58.

Lewis County

90.

Taylor County 

27.

Dayton Independent

59.

Lincoln County

91.

Trigg County 

28.

Edmonson County

60.

Livingston County

92.

Union County 

29.

Elizabethtown Independent

61.

Logan County 

93.

Warren County 

30.

Elliot County 

62.

Marion County Public 

94.

Washington County 

31.

Eminence Independent

63.

Marshall County 

95.

Williamsburg Independent

32.

Erlanger-Elsmere Indep.

64.

Mason County

96.

Wolfe County 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More information about Graduate Kentucky and resources available to school districts is available at www.graduate.ky.gov.

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