Cherry: Supporting schools with early graduates

Posted by: Lydia Kirschner  | Friday, January 31, 2020

Across the nation, thousands of high school seniors graduate a semester early. Hoosiers are no exception when it comes to students taking advantage of the opportunities early graduation has to offer. This session, I am working on legislation to support schools so they can promote early graduation without being negatively impacted.

There are academic and financial benefits of graduating early, which is why it’s an option students should consider. Students can get a head start on their careers in Indiana’s thriving job market and gain valuable work experience sooner, or start college early. Graduating a semester ahead can set young Hoosiers up for success, and showcase they are high-achieving and goal-oriented, making them excellent candidates when applying for jobs, colleges and scholarships.  

While there are many benefits to graduating early for students, Indiana schools are currently negatively impacted when students choose this path. State tuition support for Hoosier schools is determined by a school’s average daily membership. The ADM is the number of students enrolled at a school and is calculated in September and February. Students choosing to graduate early are not taken into account for the February ADM and as a result, the school loses the funds the state provides for these students.

Mount Vernon Community School Corporation saw 31 early graduates in 2018, and 41 this past December. Without this legislation, the school corporation would lose an estimated $131,000 in state tuition support. My proposal would allow an early-graduating student to be counted in the February ADM count, as long as the student was present in the September count and they successfully completed their graduation requirements. This would prevent schools from being unfairly penalized and potentially losing thousands of dollars when a student successfully completes school ahead of their peers.

By promoting early graduation, rather than deterring schools from it, local districts can encourage students to pursue this path without being worried about losing critical funding. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more about House Bill 1204. Your opinions matter, and as proposals for new laws move forward, let’s stay connected. For questions or input, please call 317-232-9651 or email H53@iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) represents House District 53,
which includes portions of Hancock and Madison counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo