Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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Local graduation rates improve

A majority of Fredericksburg-area school divisions bested the state’s 86.6 percent on-time graduation rate, according to data released yesterday by the Virginia Department of Education.

They include Colonial Beach and the counties of Stafford, King George, Culpeper, Orange, Louisa and Fauquier.

Statewide, the on-time graduation rate—a percentage of students who graduate within four years of entering high school as freshmen—rose a point to 86.6 percent and the dropout rate declined a point to 7.2 percent. 

For the most part, school systems in the Fredericksburg area improved those rates, too.

For instance, Fredericksburg’s school system increased its graduation rate from 80.5 percent in 2010 to 83.9 percent this year. It’s dropout rate declined from 13.5 percent to 9.6 percent.

Fredericksburg Mayor Tom Tomzak in April criticized city schools administrators for what he called an unacceptable dropout rate.

City Schools Superintendent David Melton called the latest data a “tremendous improvement.”

“I think they’ve done a much better job of tracking kids that leave our school and go out of state,” he said. Previously, those students would’ve been considered dropouts, he said.

This year’s dropout rate is a measurement of students who left high school permanently over the last four years.

Read tomorrow’s paper for more information.