Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hiking Required GPA Could Cost Schools

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hiking Required GPA Could Cost Schools

Article excerpt

State lawmakers may have failed in 1996 to raise the minimum

grade-point average to 2.0 for students to graduate, but Clay

County educators fully expect the bill to be approved by the

Legislature this spring.

"It's looks like it's going to sail right through,"

Superintendent David Owens said about raising the GPA to from

1.5 to 2.0, for graduation from high school in Florida.

If that rule is enacted, this fall's ninth-graders, who are to

graduate in 2001, will be required to have a C average to

graduate, educators said.

"I fully expect it to pass," said School Board Chairman Richard

Fain.

He said he is concerned, however, about the added stress the

new law will place on the district's already strained $148

million budget.

If more students fail or drop out when graduation standards are

raised, the district may need more funding to hire additional

teachers and tutors in both day and night schools, educators

said.

Board member Mickey Fields applauds the move to a C average,

but he said he's worried about the kids who quit. "I'm

definitely for it," he said of higher standards to graduate.

Last year, the bill moved through both houses before Gov.

Lawton Chiles vetoed it. It was attached to an unwanted prayer

bill, but that won't happen this year, educators and board

members predict.

The Clay School Board discussed raising the GPA from 1.5 to 2.0

last year but tabled it. The board then handed the issue to a

citizens' advisory panel, which recommended that it be

implemented, Fain said.

But not many of Clay's educators anticipate lawmakers will help

financially.

"I don't mind it so much if they address the funding issue,"

Fain said.

If it becomes law, it will raise the dropout rate, educators

said. …

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