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Dropout Bill Advances in Frankfort

By Tony McVeigh, Kentucky Public RadioLegislation boosting Kentucky’s drop out age, which has the backing of first lady Jane Beshear, continues moving forward in the 2010 General Assembly.The drop out bill has had its ups and downs. Introduced in late January, it didn’t get a vote in the House Education Committee until mid-February, where it passed unanimously. But then it was recommitted to the budget committee, where lawmakers like Rep. Ron Weston of Fairdale raised money issues. “If we can make and keep and encourage young people to stay in school, I’d like to see 100% graduate from high school. And if it takes 18 to do that, that would be wonderful. But it takes money.”But Weston voted for the bill, which passed 26-1. The lone opponent was Rep. James Comer of Tompkinsville, who’s concerned about the quality of drop out prevention programs. The bill, which raises the drop out age to 18 by July 2014, now goes to the House floor.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.