“It will go towards programs to help 18-year-old kids who may need extra help, extra work,” he said.
On Friday, the Somerset Independent Schools Board of Education likewise voted to raise its drop-out age.
“The fact of the matter is, it’s essential legislation. It’s something we’re going to have to do from a legal standpoint anyway,” said Somerset Superintendent Boyd Randolph. “Secondly, research to date supports that students who are engaged longer and more thoroughly (in school) are more successful in life. This is a legislative means of helping to ensure that.”
Randolph said that the city school district has a “number of opportunities” and programs in place that he feels will “dovetail perfectly” with the new legislation, including an alternative graduation policy.
“Our high school principal (Wes Cornett) coordinated and organized an ad hoc group to look and problems and develop solutions to decide what we could do without compromising a student’s educational experience,” said Randolph. “Our board adopted the alternative graduation program. It’s not for everybody, you have to meet strict criteria to qualify, but for those who can, it might keep them in school a little bit longer.
“The object isn’t just to get (students) out,” he added. “The object is to give them every opportunity to fully develop the skills they need when they leave here.”