Dropout report audit welcome, state agency says

By MELISSA ARNOLD State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Are Kentucky's dropout rates really as low as were reported by the state?

Dropout rates for Kentucky high school students in the 2001-2002 school year were at a 10-year low, according to an official report released by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), but now the accuracy of that data is being questioned.

The Program Review and Investigations Committee unanimously voted for a statewide audit of school's dropout rates after hearing the results of the Legislative Research Commission's study on the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS).

The committee asked the state auditor's office to examine if Kentucky's schools are underreporting their dropout rate after the presented report showed the dropout counts that the schools report aren't sufficiently validated by the KDE and that independent reviews of dropout reporting cited in the report indicated that rates are consistently underreported in other states. (KDE's dropout report, which was released this month, is one component of CATS.)

Rep. Charlie Hoffman, D-Georgetown, co-chairman for the committee, said the motion for the audit was made by Sen. David Karem, D-Louisville, to get the auditor's office involved.

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