KY's 18 drop out age policy to be implemented statewide

FRANKFORT, KY (FOX19) - Kentucky's policy to raise the drop out age to 18 will now be implemented statewide.

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.

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.

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.

Schools that have adopted the policy already include Bellevue Independent, Bracken County, Covington Independent, Dayton Independent, Erlanger-Elsmere Independent, Kenton County, Mason County and Pendleton County.