North Carolina could be losing billions of dollars over the lifetimes of students who don't finish high school.
A report released by state and national groups that support school-choice initiatives says the annual public costs associated with one year of North Carolina dropouts are $169 million. The costs involve lost income tax revenue, extra Medicaid spending and housing for prisoners who didn't get their diplomas.
The report suggests a slight increase in private school enrollment would save up to $24 million annually.
The study was released at a news conference at the Legislative Building. The Legislature has been looking this year at ways to improve the graduation rate in the public schools.
Only two-thirds of North Carolina ninth-graders earn a high
school diploma within four years.