FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2011
(512) 463-0120 office
(Austin, TX) — This morning, the Senate Committee on Education voted unanimously to advance Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa's Senate Bill 975 - the Dropout Recovery Bill. The legislation builds on the demonstrated success of the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA) ISD's College and Career Technology Academy, established by Dr. Danny King, in partnership with South Texas College.
"This bill will make a huge difference in the lives of our students," Senator Hinojosa said. "An increased investment in education and keeping our students in school is the best economic development tool we have to push the Texas economy forward."
The first year of the program, starting September 1, 2011, will be an efficient planning and start-up phase. During the second year, school districts in Hidalgo County with a dropout rate higher than 15% will be able to partner with South Texas College. By the third year, the program will be ready for statewide implementation. This timeline reduces the program costs significantly and spreads out the investment.
"The cost of not graduating our students is unacceptable," Senator Hinojosa said. "Texans with a high school diploma bring a better return to the state than a high school dropout - socially and economically - and have a greater opportunity to attend college."
Under this program, students under 26 years of age who lack 3 or more credit courses or failed the school exit exams can participate in a curriculum that improves their employability, increases their high school completion rates, and promotes higher education participation. In the past 3 years, schools participating in the Academy have recovered and graduated 1,472 dropouts.