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More Citrus County students graduated with a high school diploma this past year.

According to the Florida Department of Education (DOE), the school district’s graduation rate for the 2018-19 school year was 86%, an increase of 2% from 2017-18.

Florida’s graduation rate for last school year was 86.9%.

“Our community and school district should be proud of this exceptional performance,” School District Superintendent Sandra “Sam” Himmel said in a Tuesday news release. “Regardless of your role as teacher, neighbor, coach, business leader or support services staff, you all play a part in connecting, inspiring and supporting our students across the finish line.” 

Graduation rates measure the percentage of students who graduate within four years of their first enrollment in ninth grade. State and its district graduation rates are a cohort, meaning it’s based off a group of students who are scheduled to graduate at the same time.

Citrus County’s graduation rate is made up of students from its three three public high schools, CREST, Renaissance Center and the Cypress Creek Juvenile Detention Facility. For more information, visit bit.ly/36E3iQN.

At 96.6%, Lecanto High School had the highest graduation rate from 2018-19, up 4% from the 2017-18 school year, according to the DOE.

Crystal River High School had a graduation rate of 87.9% from 2018-19, down 1.9% from 2017-18; and Citrus High School had a rate of 92.4% in 2018-19, down 1.1% from the prior year, the DOE reports.

Each high school improved its graduation rate more than 10% over the past four years.

Graduation rates for county students with disabilities and economic disadvantages also improved to 77.4% and 83.7%, respectively, up from respective rates of 70.7% and 79.3%, according to the DOE. 

Florida’s graduation rates for those students were at 80.6% and 82.9%, respectively.

Also of the county’s student cohort from 2018-19, 3.7% are still enrolled, 1.8% received a certificate of completion, 0.8% graduated with a GED and 7.2% dropped out, according to the DOE.

“Our district always strives to do what is best for kids. We recognize that some students need additional time beyond four years to earn a diploma or may take an alternative path,” Amy Crowell, director of district research and accountability, said in the district's release. “Even though these students hinder the graduation rate because they are categorized as ‘non-graduates’ at the time graduation rates are calculated, they do reach a level of success that will allow them to enter college or a career path.”

Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 or bthompson@chronicleonline.com.

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