New Leadership in Senate Doesn't Equal Easier Road for Dropout Bill

Dec 26, 2012

Three of the chief opponents to raising the dropout age in Kentucky will not return to Frankfort next year. But that doesn't mean a dropout bill is likely to pass in the next legislative session. Currently, state law allows 16-year-olds to drop out of school with parental permission.

But education advocates want the law changed to eliminate all loopholes and require dropouts to be 18 or older. With a new education chairman and new leadership in the Senate, those advocates are hopeful this will be their year.

But Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer says there are still issues with the legislation, and it won't have an easy road.

“We’re not, we haven’t just been against this because the governor has been for it," said Thayer. "We’ve been against it, and it’s probably come across that way in the media, because sometimes we have a hard time getting out through the filter. So I’m telling you, face to face here, there are really legitimate policy concerns.”

Thayer says those concerns include what to do with disruptive students who don’t want to be in school, as well as whether school districts have appropriate facilities to deal with such students.