School districts set blistering pace in adopting new attendance standard

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New policy requires students to attend school until 18th birthday

Kentucky school districts are racing to adopt the new “Graduate Kentucky” standard to keep students attending school through age 18 or until they earn a high school diploma. Since Tuesday, June 25, the first day for school boards to adopt the policy, 75 districts, including Marion County, have updated the antiquated compulsory attendance standard of age 16.
Governor Steve Beshear, First Lady Jane Beshear and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday commended the districts for their speed in changing their policies.
Senate Bill 97 (SB 97), known as the “Graduate Kentucky” bill, passed this year and phases in an increase in the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18, amending the school attendance law created in 1934.
The adoption of SB 97 is voluntary until 55 percent of the state’s school districts adopt the policy.
By voting to keep students in school, these districts are giving these students a better shot at life – better jobs, better health outcomes, and better stability for their families,” said Mrs. Beshear. “I congratulate these school boards for putting faith in their students and placing a high value on education.”
The Kentucky Department of Education is providing $10,000 planning grants to school districts that adopt the new attendance age policy in the 2013-14 school year. The funds are designed to be used to plan for full implementation in the 2015-16 school year.
Research shows that high school graduates live longer, are less likely to be teen parents, and are more likely to raise healthier, better-educated children. High school graduates are also less likely to commit crimes, rely on government healthcare or use other public services.
More information about Graduate Kentucky, the Blitz to 96, and resources available to school districts is available at www.graduate.ky.gov.