Caldwell County School officials are waiting to increase the district's minimum dropout age because the district is not prepared to implement a program to prevent students from dropping out past the age of 16.
More than 100 districts have increased their dropout age to 18 voluntarily, in part, to receive a $10-thousand incentive from the Commonwealth.
Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 11:44 am
Just two weeks since Kentucky allowed school districts to voluntarily adopt the new compulsory dropout age of 18, enough districts have approved the policy to make it mandatory statewide in four years.
Gov. Steve Beshear and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday announced today that 96 districts—or 55 percent—have adopted the new policy raising the dropout age from 16, which has been in place since 1934, according to state officials.
In four years, Kentucky students won't be able to drop out of school until they're 18.
It appears that enough Kentucky school districts have, or plan to back increasing the compulsory dropout age from 16 to 18 to put the state over the threshold needed to make the change mandatory statewide.
More than 20 school districts that have not yet acted on the policy are scheduled to meet this week, and WFPL has confirmed several of those districts plan to adopt the policy.
The new president of Kentucky’s teacher union indicates educators are ready for a tougher minimum dropout age. Many school districts have already acted to increase the minimum from 16 to 18-years-old. Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler says teachers see the higher minimum drop-out age as an opportunity
Kentucky education commissioner Terry Holliday says the first 57 school districts that raise their dropout age from 16 to 18 will be given a $10,000 state grant.
Holliday made the announcement Wednesday during a state Board of Education meeting in Frankfort. Just before the announcement, board members voted unanimously to adopt a resolution urging Kentucky's 174 school districts to raise the dropout age as soon as possible.
The Kentucky House approved on Monday legislation that gradually raises the age when students can drop out of school—a compromise reached after past efforts to strike a deal failed. The dropout bill allows local school boards to choose whether to raise the dropout age to 18. After 55 percent of Kentucky's school boards raise the drop out limit, the change in four years becomes mandatory statewide.
The Senate has passed its own version of legislation that would require students to stay in school until they're 18, up from the current dropout age of 16. The vote was 36 - 2 yesterday. The House unanimously passed a similar proposal last week. Each chamber will consider the other's legislation.
Students wouldn't be allowed to drop out of school before their 18th birthday under legislation that passed in the House Thursday.
Two-term Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has been promoting the legislation for years, most recently in his annual State of the Commonwealth speech. The proposal would increase the dropout age incrementally from 16 to 18 over a period of years, giving both students and school districts time to adjust to the change.