Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

By Chris Collins


Baker High School's graduation rate is above the state average and showed better improvement than the state average, according to statistics released Thursday by the Oregon Department of Education.

The BHS four-year graduate rate improved from 72.16 a year ago to 77.78 percent for 2011-12.

The ODE numbers showed that 105 of the 135 members of the BHS Class of 2012 graduated in four years. Four more earned modified diplomas and five earned GEDs for a four-year high school completer rate of 84.44 percent.

The 2011-12 dropout rate at BHS, with five of the total 535-student enrollment last fall dropping out, was 0.93 percent, according to ODE.

The overall four-year graduation rate for the Baker School District, 53 percent, was affected by other programs, such as the Baker Web Academy (19 percent graduation rate), the Eagle Cap innovative high school (29 percent) and Baker Early College (67 percent).

Unity's Burnt River School District, Baker County's smallest, graduated all five of its seniors in four years.

For the second year, the Huntington School District was represented inaccurately on the state report, showing a graduation rate of just 38 percent. The rate should be more like 75 percent, with six of the eight seniors graduating, said Superintendent Scott Bullock.

The same problem happened a year ago when the ODE reported a graduation rate of 23.5 percent for the small southeastern Baker County school district.

The discrepancy is tied to the school's exchange student program, which was discontinued three years ago, Bullock said.

The school district has been working with the state department to make the adjustments, but the information was not provided in time for this year's report, so the inaccurate information was included again this year.

"We thought we had adjusted all those," he said of the exchange student numbers. "But six of them put in from a prior year crept up again."

The 2011-12 five-year graduation rate report is a more accurate reflection of what's happening at Huntington High School, Bullock said.

The five-year statistics show that 18 students started school together in 2007-08 and 13 transferred out. Four of the five remaining students received their diplomas after five years, for an 80 percent graduation rate, the report states.

The Pine-Eagle Charter School recorded a 2011-12 graduation rate of 93 percent, with 14 of its 15 seniors graduating. Last year's rate was 75 percent.

The North Powder Charter School showed a graduation rate of 86 percent, with 12 of its 14 seniors receiving a diploma in four years. The school recorded a graduation rate of 88 percent a year ago.

Statewide the four-year graduation rate was 68.4 percent, up from 67.6 percent a year ago, according to the Oregon Department of Education.

This year's results will be used to track progress toward the state's goal for all students to complete high school by 2025, Ron Saxton, deputy superintendent of public instruction, stated in a press release.