Beginning this week, several Kentucky school boards are expected to adopt new policies increasing the dropout age for students to 18.

For decades, Kentucky students have been allowed to drop out of school at age 16. Under new state law, local districts now have the option to change that. Once 55 percent of school districts adopt the new dropout age, all districts will have four years to follow suit.

The Jefferson County Board of Education  plans to implement the policy, which it will likely approve at its July 8 meeting unless a special session is requested beforehand.

The next scheduled JCPS board meeting is June 24th, one day before districts are being allowed to officially adopt the policy. JCPS district 7 board member Chris Brady has requested the district consider holding a short special meeting prior to meeting in July.

Brady says its partially a symbolic to be an early adopter of the new policy.

“We’re also wanting to be the best district in the country. So in order to do that we need to start leading and we need to start leading now,” he says.

The Kentucky Department of Education is also offering $10,000 grants to the first few 57 school districts  that adopt the  new policy. But some are concerned with the future costs and programming associated with serving more students who would have otherwise dropped out.

School districts can begin adopting  the new dropout age Tuesday, and can electronically submit their documents to the state on Wednesday.

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