Both local boards adopt 18 minimum dropout age
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

Beginning two years from now, students in the two high schools making their home in the Land of Logan won’t be ending their prep careers until they either graduate or become 18 years old.

Both the Russellville Independent Board of Education and the Logan County Board of Education have voted to adopt a state recommendation to raise the dropout age to a minimum of 18 instead of the long-standing age 16.

Because so many districts have adopted the dropout policy change, all schools in the state must go to the age 18 minimum before the end of this decade.

Superintendent Marshall Kemp confirms that the Logan board passed the new age restriction at a specially called meeting on June 25.

By accepting the proposed change early in the process, Logan County became one of the first 96 school districts in the state to take that action. The Kentucky Department of Education had promised those 96 schools a $10,000 grant to plan implementation of the new rules.

The Russellville board approved Senate Bill 97 at its regular July meeting on Tuesday, July 16.

 “We are not one of the first 96 districts,” acknowledge city superintendent Leon Smith. “School boards could not adopt SB97 until 12 a.m. on June 25. Our June board meeting was June 18. I am hopeful the state will find money to support those district that that passed this board policy within a reasonable time.”

“We are very excited to report that in a mere two-week window, 96 district plus have adopted a policy supporting raising the compulsory attendance age to 18 (“Blitz to 96”). Reaching a total of 96 districts met the 55 percent threshold, making the adoption of a policy mandatory for all Kentucky districts within four years,” says Dr. Terry Holliday, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education

“In all of the districts that have already adopted a policy to date (the 96 and any others), the compulsory attendance age of 18 will be effective in these district in the 2015-16 school year.

Because the 55 percent was reached in the 2013-2014 school year (after July 1, 2013), then the four- year mandatory requirement for adoption of the policy by all other districts who have not adopted a policy up and until that point goes into effect in the school year that is four years from when the 55 percent was reached, which means all other districts will be subject to the compulsory age of 18 beginning in the2017-2018 school year. However, districts may continue to adopt policies through the 2015-16 school year and beyond and unless the adopted policy specifically states it is not going into effect until 2017-18 or another intervening year, the policy will go into effect in 2015-16 for a district under the terms of SB 97.

“KDE will continue to monitor the remainder of the Kentucky school districts as they adopt their policies. We will regularly update the Kentucky map, which can be viewed on the home page of the KDE website, showing the districts that have adopted a policy” notes Holliday. “KDE staff will also report to Governor Beshear and me regarding the continuous support of this effort which empowers ALL Kentucky students to graduate college- and career-ready.”

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