FRANKFORT, Ky. - The first 57 school districts across Kentucky to change their high school dropout age to 18 will be awarded a $10,000 grant from the state Department of Education. That’s the incentive Education Commissioner Terry Holliday hopes will get more schools to adopt a policy recently approved by the General Assembly.
The $10,000 grant could be used by schools to plan for alternative programs to help keep students engaged in school.
Melissa Bacon, a member of the Fayette County School Board, says it will be a challenge.
“And it’s going to take the work of community members, faith-based organizations, all of us to be able to pitch in and to just wrap our arms around all of our students that have any type of need.”
Recent data show Kentucky’s dropout rate at 2.5 percent.
State lawmakers approved the measure to raise the dropout age from 16 to 18. It would take effect at individual school districts beginning with the 2015-2016 school year and could be mandatory statewide as early as 2019.
On Wednesday, the state Board of Education passed a resolution urging local school boards to be “courageous, early adopters” of the policy.
In Madison County, the school board plans to vote next week on changing the dropout age. The Fayette County Board of Education is discussing the change and could vote on the policy at its April 29th meeting.