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Schools Prepare For Mandatory Attendance Under 18

January 20, 2008, 1:18 PM

Schools Prepare For Mandatory Attendance Under 18
In the next school year, a new state law will make it illegal for students to leave school before age 18 unless they graduate earlier. And schools already are adapting to the pending change.

Watertown school superintendent Lesli Hanson says her district is trying to increase its high school graduation rate. Watertown has 89 percent graduation rate. There are 1,250 students in grades 9 through 12.

She says reasons for dropping out vary and include family problems, trying to earn a living, not being connected to a peer group and other factors.

According to Sisseton High School officials, its graduation rate is listed at 73 percent when it actually is 89 percent.

Current state law allows students to drop out at 16, and legislators have said those dropouts wind up in low-paying jobs and frequently get in trouble with the law. The mandatory attendance statute passed last year.

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