96 school boards and counting adopt policy to keep students in school until 18th birthdays or graduation; triggers change for school districts across the Commonwealth

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear, First Lady Jane Beshear and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday today commended school boards across Kentucky that raced to adopt the new “Graduate Kentucky” standard, keeping students in school until they earn a high school diploma or turn 18.

Just two weeks after they could vote to raise the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18, 96 school districts have adopted the policy and more are in the process of approving it.

“After five years of hard work by Commissioner Holliday, the First Lady and others to implement raising the compulsory graduation age to 18, I am overwhelmed by the support our school boards have shown by racing to adopt this policy,” said Gov. Beshear. “We know that keeping our students in school will not only offer them a better future, but will ensure that Kentucky has a better-trained, better-prepared workforce that will benefit the state for decades to come. Implementing this important policy shows that Kentucky puts a high value on education by putting faith in our students.”

Senate Bill 97 (SB 97), known as the “Graduate Kentucky” bill, passed earlier 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.

Students who graduate from an accredited or an approved four-year high school before they turn 18 are exempt from the new policy, Gov. Beshear noted.

SB 97 made adoption voluntary until 55 percent—or 96—of the state’s school districts adopt the policy. Since that threshold has been reached, the remainder of Kentucky’s 173 districts must now adopt and implement a compulsory attendance age of 18 no later than the 2017-18 school year.

Two weeks ago, leaders launched “Blitz to 96” – an effort to get 96 school districts to adopt the higher compulsory attendance age as soon as possible. June 25 was the first day local boards of education could adopt the “Graduate Kentucky” standard; within the first 48 hours, 58 districts had voted to implement the policy and within the first week, 75 districts had done so.

“We achieved our goal much faster than we anticipated,” said Mrs. Beshear, who championed the ‘Graduate Kentucky’ legislation. “The effort speaks so highly of the dedicated school boards, administrators, parents, teachers and communities who have made high school graduation a top priority for our students.”

Planning grants of $10,000 are being provided through the Kentucky Department of Education to the first 96 school districts that joined the effort to reach the 55 percent threshold. The funds are designed to be used to plan for full implementation of the policy in the 2015-16 school year.

”We are excited that so many of our boards and districts have taken quick action to raise the compulsory school attendance age to 18,” Commissioner Holliday said. “Although we have reached the maximum number of planning grants that we can fund, we would still encourage all districts to pass a policy this school year so that more students will stay in school and on track to college- and career-readiness at an earlier date. It is the right thing to do for our students and the right thing for Kentucky.”

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.

A list of school districts which have adopted the new compulsory attendance age follows, as reported to the Kentucky Department of Education through its online system as of 12:46 p.m. on July 9.

1. Adair County 33. Estill County 65. Mayfield Independent
2. Augusta Independent 34. Floyd County 66. McCracken County
3. Barbourville Independent 35. Franklin County 67. Menifee County
4. Barren County 36. Fulton County 68. Mercer County
5. Bath County 37. Fulton Independent 69. Metcalfe County
6. Bell County 38. Garrard County 70. Monroe County
7. Bellevue Independent 39. Glasgow Independent 71. Montgomery County
8. Berea Independent 40. Graves County 72. Morgan County
9. Bourbon County 41. Green County 73. Murray Independent
10. Bowling Green Independent 42. Greenup County 74. Nelson County
11. Boyd County 43. Hancock County 75. Nicholas County
12. Boyle County 44. Hardin County 76. Owensboro Independent
13. Bracken County 45 Harrison County 77. Owsley County
14. Breathitt County 46. Hart County 78. Paducah Independent
15. Bullitt County 47. Hazard Independent 79. Paris Independent
16 Burgin Independent 48. Henry County 80. Pendleton County
17. Campbellsville Independent 49. Hopkins County 81. Powell County
18. Carter County 50. Jackson Independent 82. Pulaski County
19. Casey County 51. Jefferson County 83. Rowan County
20. Christian County 52. Johnson County 84. Russell County
21. Clay County 53. Kenton County 85. Russell Independent
22. Cloverport Independent 54. Knox County 86. Scott County
23. Corbin Independent 55. LaRue County 87. Simpson County
24. Covington Independent 56. Lawrence County 88. Somerset Independent
25. Danville Independent 57. Leslie County 89. Spencer County
26. Dawson Springs Independent 58. Lewis County 90. Taylor County
27. Dayton Independent 59. Lincoln County 91. Trigg County
28. Edmonson County 60. Livingston County 92. Union County
29. Elizabethtown Independent 61. Logan County 93. Warren County
30. Elliot County 62. Marion County Public 94. Washington County
31. Eminence Independent 63. Marshall County 95. Williamsburg Independent
32. Erlanger-Elsmere Indep. 64. Mason County 96. Wolfe County


More information about Graduate Kentucky and resources available to school districts is available at www.graduate.ky.gov.




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