Charter school program helps students in Storm Lake, Iowa
STORM LAKE, IA (KTIV) -
The Iowa Department of Education recently released state high school graduation rates.
State data shows 91.3 percent of students in Iowa's Class of 2016 graduated within four years.
But one Siouxland school is among the lowest rates in the state, nearly 30-percent lower.
Storm Lake has one of the lowest four-year graduation rates for high schools in the state at least on paper.
But what's behind those numbers is an entirely different story.
With just over a 60-percent graduation rate, you would think Storm Lake High School would be working to raise those figures.
But that four-year graduation rate can be a bit misleading.
The school district offers a program others in the state don't.
And it's that program that's making their graduation rate seem lower.
"We're the only school district in that state of Iowa that has a charter school that pays for an additional year of school for kids" says Superintendent Dr. Carl Turner.
If a student has enough credits to graduate, they can opt out of graduating with their class.
The state pays for students continuing their education.
In return, they will get a year of college paid for.
But the catch? Students would get their diploma a year later than expected.
"The state of Iowa will give the school district money for them to go to college. So, what we do is typically have between 40 and 60 kids each year that enroll in the charter." says Turner.
While those students won't get their diploma right away, they're still getting a college education.
Turner says this benefits students waiting a year to receive their diplomas.
"We have kind of a deal with Buena Vista University and Iowa Central and we run a bus everyday, leaves at 6:30 in the morning and goes to Fort Dodge and they take classes over at Fort Dodge and then we also have an Iowa Central campus here in Storm Lake" says Turner.
The charter program is allowing students to pursue their secondary education, all the while saving their family's money.
The five-year graduation rate for Storm Lake sits at 92-percent which is one percent below the state's average.
Turner says the low four-year graduation rate means students are taking advantage of the charter program.