House Bill 225: Raises Compulsory School Age


Last Updated: March 28, 2011
House Bill 225: Raises Compulsory School Age
J. Greer

This bill died when the Kentucky Senate adjourned the regular legislative session on Wednesday, March 9, 2011.

Among other things, House Bill 225 would have raised the compulsory school attendance age in Kentucky from 16 to 17 in 2015, and then raise it again from 17 to 18 in 2016.

While some parts of House Bill 225 would not have impacted homeschooling families, raising the compulsory school attendance age would require parents to report to their local school district two years longer than they are currently required to.

This bill will also would have impacted you as a taxpayer, since more funding would be required to keep those students in school who don't want to be there. Many states have found that alternative schools have had to be created to deal with these troubled youth. According to the fiscal note statement that was written up for the House on February 7, simply raising the compulsory attendance age will cost the state over $26 million a year.

House Bill 225 passed the House and was sent to the Senate Education Committee. At least due in part to your phone calls and emails, no hearing was held for the bill.

HSLDA's Position:

HSLDA strongly opposes the attempt to increase the compulsory school age in Kentucky. This bill would have prevented parents from deciding what is in the best interest of their child and will cause a significant burden on the taxpayer.

Action Requested:
None at this time

01/07/2011 (House) Introduced
02/01/2011 (House) To Education; posting waived; posted in committee
02/03/2011 (House) Reported favorably, 1st reading, to Calendar with Committee Substitute
02/04/2011 (House) 2nd reading, to Rules; recommitted to Appropriations & Revenue (H); posted in committee
02/08/2011 (House) Reported favorably, to Rules
02/09/2011 (House) Posted for passage in the Regular Orders of the Day for Thursday, February 10, 2011
02/10/2011 (House) 3rd reading, passed 91-8 with Committee Substitute
02/11/2011 (Senate) received in Senate
02/15/2011 (Senate) To Education
02/25/2011 (Senate) taken from Education; 1st reading; returned to Education
02/28/2011 (Senate) taken from Education; 2nd reading; returned to Education
03/09/2011 (Senate) Adjourned Sine Die


Raising the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18 would subject Kentucky home educators to the demands of the homeschool law two years longer than now required. (You do not need to share this reason with your legislators.)

Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout rate. In fact, the two states with the highest high school completion rates, Maryland at 94.5% and North Dakota at 94.7%, compel attendance only to age 16. The state with the lowest completion rate (Oregon: 75.4%) compels attendance to age 18. (Figures are three-year averages,
1996 through 1998.)

Twenty-nine states only require attendance to age 16. Older children unwilling to learn can cause classroom disruptions and even violence, making learning harder for their classmates who truly want to learn.

It would restrict parents' freedom to decide if their 16-year-old is ready for college or the workforce. (Some 16-year-olds who are not academically inclined benefit more from valuable work experience than from being forced to sit in a classroom.)

Another significant impact of expanding the compulsory attendance age would be an inevitable tax increase to pay for more classroom space and teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to attend public schools. When California raised the upper age limit of compulsory attendance, unwilling students were so disruptive that new schools had to be built just to handle them and their behavior problems, all at the expense of the taxpayer.

According the House fiscal note statement the estimated cost of raising the compulsory attendance age would be more than $26.5 million annually, beginning in 2015. However, this estimate does not include the cost of additional services for these students, additional personnel that will be needed, the matching cost for retirement of these personnel. There are several other indeterminable costs associated with this bill if it were to be passed.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our memorandum.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History