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Escambia County Graduation Rates Up, But Still Lag

Kyle James

New figures from the U.S. Department of Education show graduation rates are up in Escambia County, but the district remains behind its Panhandle neighbors and the state as a whole.

Escambia County’s graduation rate for the 2012-13 school year was 64%, up from 62% the previous term. Escambia still falls short of the 75% statewide graduation rate, along with Santa Rosa County’s 79% and Okaloosa County’s 83% mark.

The federal high school graduation rate includes standard four-year diplomas but excludes regular and adult GEDs and special diplomas.

West Florida had the top grad rate, despite dropping from 92% in 2011-12 to 91% the following term. Besides Pine Forest, other high schools seeing improvement were Washington, Northview, and Escambia Virtual. Other declines were seen at Pensacola and Escambia High Schools.

Superintendent Malcolm Thomas says a beefier state education budget will enable his district to resurrect at least one tried-and-true program – summer school for freshmen and sophomores. He says they’re also planning a more aggressive night school program for underclassmen, to reduce discouragement and ratchet up students’ beliefs that they can graduate in four years.

Follow Dave Dunwoody on Twitter @WUWF_Dave  or email at dave@wuwf.org