Autry: Dropout rate unacceptable'

By By Erin Hilsabeck / staff writer
July 1, 2004
Meridian School Superintendent Sylvia Autry said Wednesday that about 25 percent of the students who enter ninth grade drop out of school before they graduate.
Autry, though, said the reasons for the dropout rate are unclear at this time. She said the Mississippi Department of Education will speak to high school dropout rates later this fall.
Some Kiwanis members were surprised at the high dropout rate.
Alan Goldner of Meridian said he believed Meridian High School Principal R.D. Harris could play an important role in reducing the rate. Harris became principal last year after a stint with the state department.
Autry said some parents need to do a better job of encouraging their children during the learning process, while teachers need to create an active educational environment.
Autry also told Kiwanis members about changes district administrators have made for the fall semester. An expanded prekindergarten program topped her list of new developments.
Students who enroll in prekindergarten programs perform better at school than those who aren't in a program, she said.
Another topic of interest was principal salaries.
Salaries for the upcoming school year are yet to be decided, Autry said. When test results become available July 15, she said, district administrators will have a better idea of how each principal is performing.

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