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House Approves Dropout Bill

The Kentucky House has again agreed to raise the age at which students may drop out of school.  It’s the third time the House has voted that way.

When Governor Beshear called a special session to balance the Medicaid budget, he also placed raising the state’s drop out age to 18 on the agenda. The House has twice approved the bill, only to see if die in the Senate. Representative Jeff Greer of Brandenburg is the primary sponsor.

“If you do not have a high school diploma, you’re going to earn $6,800 less than a high school graduate annually. Lifetime earnings – one without a high school diploma will earn $327,000 less than one with a high school diploma,” he says.

But opponents argue the bill is an unfunded mandate that does not provide school districts with any money for alternative school programs. On its third try, the bill passed the House 87-13, and heads to the Senate

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House Votes to Raise Dropout Age

The Kentucky House voted 91-8 Thursday to raise the state’s drop out age from 16 to 18 by July, 2016. Rep. Jeff Greer of Brandenburg, the bill’s primary sponsor, made a passionate plea for approval.

“Almost 75 percent of our prison population do not have a high school diploma. Think about that. Do you see the correlation? Do you see the need for us to emphasize to our kids across this commonwealth the importance of a high school diploma?” Greer said.

All eight of the bill’s opponents were Republicans. Rep. Jim Decesare of Rockfield, said, “How do you pay for it? It’s a local unfunded mandate that we’re passing down to our local school districts. And until we can come up with some kind of funding mechanism, I find it hard to support this legislation.”

Gov. Steve Beshear’s plan for balancing the state’s Medicaid budget has taken a giant step forward in the Kentucky General Assembly. The House voted 80-19 to move 166-million dollars from the second year of the Medicaid budget, to the current year, to cover a huge deficit. All 19 opponents, including Rep. Stan Lee of Lexington, were Republicans.

The bill now goes to the Senate.