UNION COUNTY — The number of former Union County high school students who could soon get their high school diplomas now stands at 21.
In April, Gov. Nikki Haley signed into law Act 155 eliminating passage of the exit exam as a requirement for high school graduation beginning with the Class of 2015. Passage of either BSAP exit exam or HSAP exit exam had been a requirement for graduation since 1990. Act 155, however, not only eliminated the exit exam beginning with the Class of 2015, but also made it retroactive to all previous classes dating back to the Class of 1990.
The retroactive portion of the law means that anyone who is no longer a student in the public schools and previously failed to receive their high school diploma or were prevented from graduating solely for failing to pass the exit exam could now petition their local school board to determine their eligibility to receive their diploma. A former student is eligible to petition their local school board for this assistance if they met all other graduation requirements except for passing the exit exam while they were in school.
In July, the Union County Board of School Trustees voted to recommend to the State Department of Education that 17 former Union County high school students who met the criteria set by Act 155 be granted their diplomas.
Earlier this month during its Aug. 11 meeting, the board approved another petition.
The number of former high school students recommended to receive their diplomas grew to 21 Monday evening when the board voted to ask the state to award three more former students their diplomas.
In order to get their diplomas, former students who would have graduated from high school under the provisions of Act 155 must fill out the petition asking the board for its assistance. The petitions can be obtained at the Union County School District website (www.union.k12.sc.us) or at the Union County School District Office, 130 West Main St., Union.
All eligible candidates’ names must be verified and submitted by the local school board. The South Carolina Department of Education will not accept requests directly from a diploma candidate. For additional information, please contact Union County Director of Secondary Education Cindy Langley at Union County Schools (firstname.lastname@example.org).
While the law eliminates the exit exam beginning with the Class of 2015, students in the Class of 2014 who are denied graduation solely for failing to pass the exit exam may also petition the school board for their diploma once they are no longer enrolled in the public school system as outlined in Act 155.
All former students seeking their diplomas must submit their petitions to the school board by Dec. 31, 2015.
In other business, the board voted unanimously to approve the personnel report which included a recommendation that the district hire two new personnel including:
• A cafeteria worker at Foster Park Elementary School.
• A classroom assistant/bus driver at Union County High School.
The board also voted unanimously to approve an overnight field trip request.
Lockhart Schools’ seventh and eighth grade classes will be visiting Pigeon Forge, TN, on Nov. 24 and 25.