GRADUATION 4DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (6/27/13) – Within two days of the official implementation of the “Graduate Kentucky” bill to promote high school graduation, 54 Kentucky school districts, including Dawson Springs Independent, have voted to increase their compulsory attendance age.  
 
On Tuesday, Governor Steve Beshear, First Lady Jane Beshear, and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday challenged the state’s school districts to adopt the new policy, and the leaders are encouraged by the districts’ enthusiastic response.  
 
“I’m ecstatic that so many school districts are taking immediate steps to help students build a better future by encouraging them to stay in school through graduation,” said Gov. Beshear.  “The fact that so many districts have adopted the graduation age so quickly shows that our communities understand the importance of changing this antiquated policy, and I congratulate them for their action.”
 
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. Once 96 districts have approved the change, the remaining school districts must adopt and implement the policy within four years.  
 
To encourage school districts to vote, Gov. Beshear and Commissioner Holliday launched the “Blitz to 96” initiative – a statewide push to reach the 55 percent threshold that will create the statewide attendance age standard.  The first districts to adopt the policy in the “Blitz to 96” will be invited to Frankfort for a special news conference with the Governor and Commissioner to recognize them for their swift action.
 
The 54 school districts that have adopted the new policy puts the “Blitz to 96” initiative at more than halfway to its goal.  More districts are expected to vote soon.  
 
“As a former school teacher, I know that when you hold students to high standard, they will step up and achieve,” said Mrs. Beshear. “Districts that adopt the graduation age policy are putting faith in their students and placing a high value on education.”
 
“We are heartened by the number of school boards which, in the first hours they could, raised the compulsory school age to 18,” said Commissioner Holliday. “This signals that educators are committed to doing the right thing for their students and will continue to work with them to become college- and career-ready.  We expect other boards and districts will adopt similar policies in coming days.”
 
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.  
 
A list of the 54 school districts that have already voted is below (as reported to the Kentucky Department of Education by 2:48 p.m. Wednesday). Note, as notifications to KDE are still being processed, this list may not reflect every district which has already voted.
 
Dawson Springs Independent
Barren County Schools
Bell County Schools          
Bowling Green Independent
Boyd County Schools
Boyle County Schools
Breathitt County Schools
Bullitt County Schools
Burgin Independent
Christian County Schools
Corbin Independent
Danville Independent
Dayton Independent
Elizabethtown Independent
Elliot County Schools
Erlanger-Elsmere Schools
Floyd County Schools
Fulton Independent
Garrard County Schools
Green County Schools
Hardin County Schools
Hart County Schools        
Hazard Independent
Henry County Schools
Hopkins County Schools
Jackson Independent
Johnson County Schools
LaRue County Schools
Lawrence County Schools
Leslie County Schools
Logan County Schools
Marshall County Schools
Mayfield Independent
Schools
McCracken County Schools
Menifee County Schools
Mercer County Schools
Metcalfe County Schools
Montgomery County Schools
Morgan County Schools    
Murray Independent
Nicholas County Schools
Owsley County Schools
Paducah Independent
Powell County Schools
Pulaski County Schools
Rowan County Schools
Russell Independent
Simpson County Schools
Taylor County Schools
Union County Schools
Warren County Schools
Washington County Schools
Williamsburg Independent
Wolfe County Schools
 
SurfKY News
Information provided by the office of Gov. Steve Beshear

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