Boone County one of four locations for new adult high school

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BOONE COUNTY - Gov. Eric Greitens signed a new bill this week that will make Boone County home to a new adult high school. St. Louis, Butler and Greene Counties will also each open a new school.  

The high schools will help adults finish their diplomas as well as provide them with job training after graduation. Sen. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa, said these adult high schools will be no different from traditional high schools from a curriculum standpoint.

"It is identical to a normal high school," he said. "They have to take the exact same classes and exact same criteria to get a high school diploma."

This diploma will be the same as a regular high school diploma, something that, Wasson said, makes it different from a GED.

"I think a lot of employers don’t look at a GED that is gotten this late quite the same as they do a high school diploma," he said.

The exact locations of these schools is yet to be determined, but each one will have its own brick and mortar building.

"They will be brick and mortar buildings because I want these people to go to the school just like they would a job," Wasson said. "I want them coming to the school every day."

There are approximately 500,000 people in Missouri over 21 without a high school diploma. Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Columbia, said he hopes people will take advantage of this opportunity.

"This is a good extra tool for people that might need a little help," he said. "This will allow them to go back to school and get the stuff they need to be more successful in life."

The schools will have night classes as well as child daycare to help best fit people's schedules.

Wasson said they modeled this plan after other states with high success rates.

"There are 11 of these in Indiana. Six months after graduation, 89 percent of those students are either employed or still in job training," he said.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is seeking a bid of $2 million up front from non-profit organizations that want to operate the schools.  MERS Goodwill of St. Louis will be one non-profit bidding to operate the schools.  Wasson said he hopes the schools will be up and running sometime late next year.