Key education measures move forward

Drop Out Bill

A bill giving school districts the power to mandate student attendance until age 18 passed the House Education Committee on Thursday morning.

Senate Bill 97, sponsored by Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, is the Republican Senate’s alternative to the Democratic House’s bill to mandate school attendance to age 18 statewide. Currently school attendance is compulsory to age 16. The bill passed the Senate earlier 36-2.

The House has already passed its dropout bill, House Bill 224, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg, which would raise the compulsory school attendance age to 17 in 2017 and to age 18 a year later.  HB 224 passed out of the House earlier this session but has yet to have a hearing in the Senate Education Committee.

Compromising with the Senate, the House changed the provisions of SB 97 to include a provision that if 55% of school districts adopt the mandate to make the minimum drop out age 18, a statewide law will go into effect after four years.

Gov. Steve Beshear has made the dropout bill a top priority this legislative session. The Chamber is supportive of the collaborative effort to send the message that kids should not be permitted to dropout.

Early Graduation

Senate Bill 61, sponsored by Sen. Mike Wilson, allows high school juniors who meet specific academic criteria to graduate from high school early and attend a public two-year or four-year postsecondary institution, getting them into the workforce quicker. The bill passed the Senate last week and had a hearing in the House Education Committee Thursday.

As a compromise, the House added the provision that if a student graduates from high school early, state funding that is distributed to schools under the SEEK formula would be split between the school district and a one year scholarship that the student could use at a college/university, or at a trade/technical school.

This Chamber-supported bill now heads for a vote on the House floor.

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