An Act To Achieve Maine's High School Graduation Goal
Emergency preamble. Whereas, acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, 22% of Maine high school students do not complete high school in 4 years; and
Whereas, the State has recently established the goal of a 90% high school completion rate by 2016; and
Whereas, in school year 2008-2009, 2,162 students dropped out of high school; and
Whereas, in school year 2008-2009, 7% of young people between the ages of 16 and 19 were not attending school and were not employed; and
Whereas, in school year 2008-2009, 1,446 girls and young women, between 10 and 19 years of age, gave birth; and
Whereas, Maine’s percentage of college graduates lags 7% behind the New England average, thereby negatively affecting workforce readiness; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,
Sec. 1. 20-A MRSA c. 228 is enacted to read:
AT-RISK STUDENT GRANT PROGRAM
§ 6971. Program established
§ 6972. Program criteria
§ 6973. Available funds
The commissioner may expend and disburse funds to carry out the purposes of this chapter to the extent that the commissioner identifies existing resources that are available. The commissioner may identify and expend for purposes of this chapter any portion of the amount available for services to state agency clients that the commissioner determines will exceed the reasonably projected amount required to support the expected number of state agency clients in a school year. This expected number of clients must be determined in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services.
§ 6974. Program review
The commissioner must, on an annual basis, consult with an audit and review board appointed by the commissioner and consisting of superintendents and members of local youth councils to review the program.
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.
This bill establishes the At-risk Student Grant Program, to be administered by the Commissioner of Education, to improve the ability of school districts to reduce dropout rates by creating programs, preferably with nonprofit partners, to provide services to at-risk youth that may include an option for residential services and will further the State's goal of increasing high school graduation rates. The program is funded from available resources identified by the commissioner.