Florida graduation rates trending upward; Suncoast saw slight decrease last year

Suncoast area schools saw decrease last year, but had an overall increase in the last five years.

Graduation rates in Florida

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The state of Florida had an increase in high school graduates last year. State numbers show the graduation rate rose to nearly 87-percent.

On the Suncoast, Manatee and Sarasota counties saw a slight decrease in graduates from the year prior.

School leaders in the Suncoast say the numbers fluctuate but the future is bright. And although rates were down in between 2017 and 2019 both districts have shown an overall increase in the last five years.

“It’s something we’re constantly focused on,” said the public information officer for Manatee County Schools, Michael Barber.

He says the effort to get students to graduation goes past the classrooms.

“And we do have guidance counselors, we have career advisers, we have deans in all of our high schools that are working with students every day to get them to graduation,” said Barber.

Sometimes the rates fluctuate no matter the resources.

“We hit a little bit of a wall this year but we’re going to continue moving that number, moving forward,” said Executive Director for Sarasota Schools, Steve Cantees.

Since 2014, Sarasota has increased their number of graduates by 10-percent. Manatee schools saw a more than 5-percent increase in the same time period.

“We’ve seen a really strong growth in a lot of sub-groups of students,” said Barber.

Numbers in the district increased for students with disabilities and for the Latino, and African American population.

Both districts say the ideal situation is to have a 100-percent in graduation rates. School officials say they’re working with students to help them get to the next step.

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