KY to kids: Stay in school - News, Weather & Sports

KY to kids: Stay in school

Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY)
Dr. Donna Hargens Dr. Donna Hargens
Linda Duncan Linda Duncan

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Governor Steve Beshear signed into law Monday a bill that raises Kentucky's dropout age from 16 to 18. Under the Senate Bill 97, also known as the Graduation Bill, students who do not want to attend school would not be able to drop until their 18th birthday, when they are legal adults. Individual school districts will have the flexibility to decide whether to increase the dropout age or not.

There is already a push by the JCPS board to give the Graduation Bill the green light. According to the governor's office, "Studies show that high school graduates are less likely to commit crimes, rely on government healthcare or use other public services such as food stamps or housing assistance."

JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens said having dropouts is unacceptable.

"That's an incredible cost to the community and an incredible cost to society," said Hargens.

Board member Linda Duncan has concerns. As a former assistant principal for more than a decade, Duncan has faced the dropout problem.

"Go down to the skate park where they have an ordinance that tells kids they are supposed to wear helmets and see how many kids are wearing helmets," said Duncan. "Just because there is a law doesn't mean that the kids will follow it."

If 55% of Kentucky school districts support the bill, the law will automatically go into effect statewide. The statewide requirement would not take effect; however, until four years after the 55% mark is reached.     

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