A bill to raise Kentucky’s high school dropout age is making progress in Frankfort, but the state House and Senate may not be able to come to an agreement on the issue. The House passed it’s version of the dropout bill Thursday. It would remove loopholes that allow parents to let their children drop out of school before age 18.
But the Senate passed its own version weeks ago. The bill would allow local school districts to opt out of the higher dropout age. Districts that opt in would have to provide alternative or technical education programs for students who would otherwise drop out.
Many Senators say the House version presents an unfunded mandate. But Representative Bam Carney says a bigger mandate would be the increased healthcare and jail expenses that dropouts cost the state.
“The concern about unfunded mandate, I do understand that. But for me, its move about my children, and the next generation about the mandate, the funding it’s gonna cost long-term versus short-term,” he says.
The future of both bills is uncertain. Either chamber could decide to take up the other’s version and change it. But ultimately, they’ll have to compromise.