Apr 10, 2013 12:50 PM
LOUISVILLE (AP) - Kentucky education commissioner Terry Holliday on Wednesday offered the first 57 school districts that raise their dropout age to age 18 a $10,000 state grant.
The grant would be used to promote the adoption to the local community, Holliday said.
Holliday made the announcement during a state Board of Education meeting in Frankfort, immediately after a unanimous vote by board members adopting a resolution urging Kentucky's 174 school districts to raise the dropout age as soon as possible.
"Now the hard work begins," Holliday said.
The board has for years been urging state lawmakers to raise Kentucky's legal dropout age from 16 to 18. Its cause was adopted by first lady Jane Beshear, but lawmakers had until 2013 failed to pass the legislation.
A compromise reached this year allows local districts to make their own decisions on raising the age, but with a provision that once 55 percent of districts have done so, the change will be made statewide within four years.
The change would take effect in the 2015-2016 school year for those districts whose local boards of education enact the policy.
Proponents of the new dropout age have said that if it is enacted statewide it will prevent some 6,000 Kentucky teens from quitting school early each year. Fifteen other states require students to stay in school until they're legal adults.
Board member Brigitte Ramsey of Falmouth said the legislation and resolution send a message to students that "we are not giving up on you, our youth. And this is a powerful, powerful message that, quite frankly, gives me goose bumps."
Holliday noted that local districts adopting the policy must have a plan that includes "alternative education programs, integration of career, technical education with academics and the use of community engagement and resources."
He said the department is working with the governor's office to develop a website districts can use to answer questions and find information.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
41 minutes ago