The state Department of Education reports dropout rates fell slightly during the 2006-2007 school year, but one district saw dropout numbers higher than they've been in years.
Harlan County schools had the highest dropout rate in the state for the 2006-2007 school year.
“It makes it easy about what our priority need is for next year,” Harlan County High School Principal Bob Howard said.
The rate more than doubled since 2005 to almost 10 percent of students. School officials chalk it up to a heavier push to boost attendance. That backed some reluctant students into a corner.
“It kind of came back to bite us just a little bit because you know you put a child that really does not want to attend school in a situation where the court system has to handle them or, the other option would be to drop out or attend school, they chose to drop out of school,” Harlan County Superintendent Tim Saylor said.
Superintendent Saylor expects the balance to tip the other way with the opening of the new Harlan County High School this fall.
“I think it's going to help tremendously. I think some of our kids are bored, I really do, because of the limited amount of curriculum that were offered in our schools,” Saylor said.
New courses aim to pique their interest, along with extended library hours and chances to earn extra credits when they fall behind.
“There's so many things happening with this new school that's going to address these needs,” Principal Howard said.
“I don't think that this is going to be an issue two years from now, when we re-look at the numbers,” Principal Howard said.
The numbers showed a zero percent dropout rate in Corbin, Jackson, Jenkins, and Williamsburg Independent Schools, and Wolfe County Schools.