A national report shows Kentucky double digit gains in the last decade in the number of high school graduates.
The Commonwealth’s graduation rate moved from 63% for the class of 2000 to 77% for the class of 2010. The increase of 13.5 points makes Kentucky the third most improved among all states.
The data is reported in a special issue of Education Week, a national publication that focuses on P-12 education. The report called “Diploma Counts” finds the upward trend in the graduation rate continues to be driven by improvements among minority students.
“While we have shown drastic improvement in the graduation rate, we still have a long way to go,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “Our goal is that every student not only graduates from high school, but also graduates ready for college and career.”
The report indicates more than 11,000 students in the class of 2013 will fail to earn a diploma. That translates into 64 students dropping out each day. Dr. Holliday is optimistic that a new state law will help keep students in school by raising the dropout age from 16 to 18.
Gov. Steve Beshear was meeting Monday afternoon with House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers to try to work on a plan to resolve legislative redistricting.
The governor has said he is confident that the issue will be resolved in a special session sometime this year.
Each decade, lawmakers are required to draw new legislative district boundaries to account for population changes recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau. Kentucky had major population shifts between 2000 and 2010, requiring changes in boundary lines to comply with the federal and state "one person, one vote" mandate.
Two federal lawsuits have been filed in recent weeks to speed up the process in Kentucky. One asks that a three-judge panel redraw boundaries.
An influential Eastern Kentucky legislator owns the permits on Pike County coal mines that have been cited repeatedly by the state for safety and environmental violations.
Rep. Keith Hall’s Beech Creek Coal Co. and others that are mining coal on the Phelps Democrat’s permits have been cited since 2010 for dropping rocks on homes, mining outside of permitted areas, water pollution and failing to obey regulations on blasting, reclamation and maintaining slurry ponds.
Barbara Eldridge lives next to the largest of Beech Creek’s three surface mines near Phelps. A year ago, a rock slab the size of a truck tire slammed into her home, denting a wall and shattering a paved walkway.
“It’s a danger to everybody out here, I think. Every time you hear the blast, you wonder if something’s about to come down on you,” Eldridge said.
Neighbors and state records say rocks from that mine also have landed on the properties of four other neighbors, though no injuries have been reported.
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s Board of Regents meets this week to consider tuition rates for the next academic year. The board will vote on a recommendation to raise tuition 2.8% for the 2013-14 school year.
The Council on Postsecondary Education has authority to determine tuition rates for Kentucky’s state-supported universities and the KCTCS. At its April meeting, the CPE set a tuition parameter of three-percent for all schools.
Under the $2.8% hike, in-state students would pay $144 per credit hour. Out-of-state students from contiguous counties would pay $288 while other out-of-state students would be charged $504 per credit hour.
The Board of Regents is expected to approve the tuition increase at its meeting Friday at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Cumberland.