House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Help Lower Dropout Rate

Bill would help keep Colorado students in the classroom

(Apr. 27) – The House approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Bri Buentello and Rep. Tony Exum that would create a program to help students in the 9th grade succeed, as studies have shown that 9th grade can be an indicator of whether a student will drop out of school.

“As a teacher, I know how crucial it is to provide resources for these students and help them succeed early on,” said Rep. Buentello, D-Pueblo. “I truly believe that this will have a big impact and change the lives of students everywhere. Ninth grade really is the make-it-or-break-it year and we can’t allow students to fall through the cracks. We need to address this problem and help lower the dropout rate.”

HB19-1276 establishes a ninth grade success grant program administered by the Department of Education to help ninth grade students develop the skills needed to graduate from high school and succeed afterwards. The bill outlines best practices that must be utilized for the purposes of the program in order for a local education provider to be eligible for a grant. The department would reviews applications from local education providers and make recommendations to the State Board of Education on how to award grants.

“We need to help ninth graders that are dropping out at an alarming rate. There are two school districts in my district in Colorado Springs that are in the bottom 20 percent for drop-rate, and bills like this will help those students that are struggling in the ninth grade,” said Rep. Exum, D-Colorado Springs.

This grant would prioritize schools with four-year high school graduation rates that are in the bottom 20 percent statewide.

HB19-1276 passed on a bipartisan vote of 41-19 with Rep. Colin Larson joining the Democrats. It now heads to the Senate.

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