Gov. Lynch Signs Law Aimed at Increasing New Hampshire's High School Graduation Rate

Press Release

Date: June 26, 2007
Location: Concord, NH
Issues: K-12 Education

Gov. Lynch Signs Law Aimed at Increasing New Hampshire's High School Graduation Rate

Increasing Compulsory Attendance Age Part of Governor's Overall Strategy to Increase State Graduation Rate

Gov. John Lynch today signed into law legislation raising the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18, as part of an overall statewide effort to increase New Hampshire's high school graduation rate. The legislation is one of Gov. Lynch's top priorities.

"Today we are taking significant step toward helping more of New Hampshire's young people graduate from high school, which will give them the opportunities they deserve for better lives. Right now, too many of our kids are dropping out of high school, which puts at risk the futures of these young people and our state's future economic success," Gov. Lynch said.

New Hampshire's compulsory attendance age was set at 16 in 1903.

"Half a high school education is no longer enough. Students who leave high school at 16 have fewer opportunities for good jobs and better lives. And when kids leave school at 16, our state is losing the workforce it needs for the future," Gov. Lynch said. "This law lets young people know we are not going to give up on them, and we're not going to let them give up on themselves."

In addition to increasing the compulsory attendance age, Gov. Lynch and lawmakers are also working to expand alternative learning programs for students who do not do well in traditional classrooms.

The state budget lawmakers will vote on tomorrow includes an additional $4 million to support and establish alternative education programs. In total, the state will spend $54 million in state and federal funds in the next biennium to help young people graduate from high school. The budget also includes $14 million in the capital budget to begin renovations to the regional career and technical education centers in Exeter and Manchester.

"I believe raising the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18, in conjunction with strengthening alternative education programs, will reduce New Hampshire's high school dropout rate," Gov. Lynch said. "This is the right policy for our state, and more importantly, it is the right policy for our kids. That it is why I made it one of my top priorities."

Senate Bill 18 was sponsored by Sens. Iris Estabrook, David Gottesman, John Gallus, Bob Odell, Joe Foster, Molly Kelly, Martha Fuller Clark, Maggie Hassan, Lou D'Allesandro, Sylvia Larsen, Dist 15; and Reps. Emma Rous, Tim Dunn, William Remick.

The legislation was supported by the state departments of Education, Labor and Employment Security, the Workforce Opportunity Council, NEA-NH, the New Hampshire School Boards Association, the New Hampshire School Principles Association and the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association.