Henderson, N.C. — Parents and school board members are calling for action in Vance County, where the high school graduation rate ranks last in North Carolina.
Vance County Schools graduated 64.9 percent of the students who entered local high schools in 2009-10, according to figures released this month by the state Department of Public Instruction. Statewide, a record 82.5 percent of students graduated high school in four years.
"This is deplorable," said Ruth Hartness, a member of the Vance County Board of Education. "We need to have some plan in place."
Hartness said she hasn't heard from school administrators exactly what that plan will be. The first school board meeting since the numbers were released will be next month.
Superintendent Ronald Gregory couldn't be reached for comment.
"We definitely need to get parents involved. The schools cannot raise a child," Hartness said. "They're being left behind. They're not in school a lot. There's a lot of absences there. Yes, they're definitely left behind."
Parent Keith Lewter called the poor graduation rate "a shame" but said many local parents are already involved with their children's education.
"It is a concern, but that's why we try and teach our kids at home as well," Lewter said.
The 2013-14 school year starts next Monday.