Sunday, August 24, 2003

School dropout audit sought

Report: Rate underestimated

The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - A Kentucky legislative committee is calling for an audit of the state's high school dropout rate as a new report questions its accuracy.

The Program Review and Investigations Committee asked the state auditor on Friday to investigate whether schools are underreporting Kentucky's 4 percent dropout rate.

The report ordered by the committee said the state does not sufficiently verify dropout counts from schools and uses a system that in other states has been found in some cases to underestimate the problem. The report was released on Friday.

"I'm convinced it's going to be embarrassing," Sen. Dan Seum, R-Louisville, said during a hearing at the state Capitol. The issue emerged from a 90-page analysis of the state's Commonwealth Accountability Testing System, called CATS, that the committee requested last year.

The issue that got the most attention from lawmakers Friday was the potential for problems in compiling and reporting dropouts. Schools must keep rates below 5.3 percent a year or lose their eligibility for rewards.

By 2006, schools must not exceed a 5 percent dropout rate.

The Kentucky Department of Education recently reported that nearly 6,000 students - roughly 4 percent - in grades nine through 12 left school last year.

The report recommended better verification of statistics and audits that lead to adjustments and sanctions for schools that underreport them.

A spokesman for auditor Ed Hatchett's office wouldn't comment.

Pulfer: Can lawyers work out a kinder, gentler divorce?
Bronson: Lynch acts within theater of politics
Howard: Some good news
Hey, kid! What're you doing?

Sip or slurp, polka or rock, just get down
It's a lovely summer - if you're a mold
Green thumb wins lots of greenbacks
Blueprint to end boycott offered
Fernald tower toppled
Black students narrow the gap
New designs freshen schools
No use crying: Crash spills milk
Reading streetscape vetoed
Workers rush to ready classes
Bidders purchase 'steals' at car sale
Good boy! Top cop pooch wins award
Margaret Heisel was a volunteer, leader
Jeff Allan Rodgers, Gulf War veteran
Regional Report

Man buys box, finds human ashes inside
Wounded pilots support own kind

'Short' story to end Monday
'Vietnam wall' coming to Florence
Boone kin want name put back on highway
School dropout audit sought
Searchers find body of missing woman
Town threatens fine over 9-11 memorial