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Bill to Raise Dropout Age Passes House Committee

One of Governor Steve Beshear’s main priorities is once again making its way throughKentucky’s General Assembly. A bill sponsored by state Representative Jeff Greer would gradually raise the school dropout age from 16 to 18 by 2017.The bill has been received very well in the Democratic-controlled House in the past two session. But the state Senate has killed the bill each time, saying it doesn’t account for extra expenses or provide alternative means of education.The governor signaled his favorability toward technical education as an alternative in his state of the Commonwealth address. But Greer told the House Education Committee that he believes raising the dropout age and dealing with technical education should be separate issues.“In previous session there have been provisions for alternative programs and career and technical education in the graduation bill," he said. "We recognize the need for improvement in both programs but we feel they can and should be handled separately from this graduation bill."The committee overwhelming passed the bill to the House floor for a vote. Only one member, Bowling Green Representative Jim Decesare voted against the measure.First Lady Jane Beshear told the committee that passing the bill would help attract better businesses to the commonwealth and create more opportunities for Kentuckians.“If we want our children to be able to realize their potential and take advantage of opportunities," she said. "And for this commonwealth to take advantage of the opportunities of the types of businesses that improve the future everyone, then we need to make sure our children have every opportunity to be successful."