Compulsory Attendance

The Manatee County Compulsory Attendance Pilot Project was implemented on July 1, 1999. The project has given the state a model for reducing its dropout rate. After four years the program has achieved a 73.8% graduation rate. That’s a 17.6% improvement over 1998/99 and much better than the state as a whole.

The two main elements of the pilot program are:

  • Raising the mandatory attendance age to 18.
  • Cracking down on truancy.
  • The dropout prevention plan keeps kids in school, gives them a better chance at graduation, and has had encouraging results:

  • Prior to the inception of the project the dropout rate was 7.4%
  • Since the program’s inception Manatee County’s dropout rate decreased by 5.6%, while the State’s decreased by only 2.3%
  • Attendance increased by 1.6% across the District
  • In 1999, 20% of the dropouts were 16, however by 2003 that number had decreased to 6%
  • When instituting the Compulsory Attendance Pilot Project, Manatee County’s dropout rate was the second highest of 9 comparative counties
  • As of 2003, Manatee County now has the lowest percentage of dropouts
  • Using the same comparative counties for graduation rate, in 1999 Manatee County was 8th
  • As of 2003 our standing is fourth highest, with graduation rates increasing by 17.6%
  • Truancy is also being addressed in formal meetings with the parents and of course on the enforcement side
  • We know as a community that kids belong in school and that this program is in line with Florida's promise of leaving no child behind