Fayette school board endorses raising dropout age to 18

The Fayette County Board of Education says it will raise the compulsory school dropout age in the district to 18 as soon as state legislation becomes law on June 25.

Fayette board members unanimously approved a resolution Monday night declaring their intention to take the step "as soon as practicable" on or after June 25.

Now, Kentucky students can drop out of school at age 16. Educators have warned for years that students who do that are unprepared for success in today's demanding marketplace, and that they risk spending their lives in low-paying jobs or worse.

The Kentucky General Assembly approved Senate Bill 97 this year, allowing school districts to raise the dropout age to 18 with enforcement starting in the 2015-2016 school year.

Since then, some Kentucky school boards have voted to raise the dropout age, even though SB 97 technically won't become law until June 25. Fayette County elected to wait until then.

Fayette County Superintendent Tom Shelton has said that raising the dropout to 18 won't be enough unless the school district provides educational opportunities and support to ensure that all students graduate. The school board said that raising the dropout age would send a "strong message to this community that the successful completion of high school is essential to ensuring that every student is college- and career-ready."