Kentucky dropout age increases

Kentucky is working to increase its graduation rate while decreasing the dropout rate. Students will not be able to dropout of school until they’re 18.

All 173 school districts have now approved the raise in the dropout age from 16 to 18. This is the first adjustment to the school attendance law since its creation in 1934.

Hickman County High School Principal Kevin Estes said it’s a good move for education.

“At 16, a lot of kids don’t make the right decisions. Now we have two more years to work with them, and work with their parents,” Estes said.

However, their district isn’t making the change until the 2017 school year. They’re one of six in the state that’s waiting until then. Hickman County Superintendent Casey Henderson said it’s because they have a 100% graduation rate.

“We saw, I guess very little need to push it in very fast due to the fact that our graduation rate is already so high,” Henderson said.

They haven’t had a student dropout in six years.

Other than Hickman and Caldwell County, most schools in our area will adopt this dropout age change this upcoming school year or already have like Carlisle County.

Carlisle County Superintendent Jay Simmons said they have a very low dropout rate, but it could end up costing the district money if it increases drastically.

“We haven’t seen any changes right now. Obviously it will affect us in the future a little bit. Now we have to make sure we have things in place that cater to students that cannot drop out until they’re 18, which in the long run is a good thing,” Simmons said.

The Kentucky Department of Education gave every district a $10,000 grant to help with implementing the higher dropout age.

Kentucky had a 87.5% graduation rate for the 2013 – 2014 school year.

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