Bill would expand the age for school attendance

Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2011

JUNEAU — Alaska children would have to attend school from age 6 to 18 under a measure approved by the Senate Education Committee.

Currently, school attendance is required from age 7 to 16. Supporters of the change, including education officials, see it as key to reaching children at a younger age and avoiding any perception that the state sanctions quitting when they’re 16.

Exceptions include students who graduate at an age younger than 18.

The state Department of Education estimates the change would cost the state $14.8 million next fiscal year. That’s based on the roughly 1,406 16- to 18-year-olds who dropped out after a fall count in fiscal year 2010, as well as per-student spending.

The measure goes to the Finance Committee for further consideration.

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