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Florida’s graduation rate rose by 1.6 percent in the recently completed school year for a statewide average of 82.3 percent, the state Department of Education announced Wednesday. The graduation rates in the 67 school districts ranged from a high of 93.4 percent in Gilchrist County to a low of 50 percent in Gadsden County in the 2016-17 academic year. The year-to-year graduation rates improved for all major demographic groups, including white students, from 85.1 percent to 86.2. For black students, graduation rates rose from 72.3 percent to 74.8 percent. And for Hispanic students, the graduation rate was 81.3 percent, up from 79.5 percent. Statewide female students improved to 86 percent, up from 84.5 percent, and male students were at 78.6 percent, up from 77 percent in the 2015-16 academic year. In making the announcement, Gov. Rick Scott said Florida’s graduation rate has improved by more than 23 percentage points since 2003-04. “I am proud to announce that Florida’s high school graduation rate has reached a 14-year high,” Scott said in a statement. “We want every Florida student to have access to a world-class education so they can succeed in the classroom and their future careers.” He noted his proposed budget includes more support for the public school system, including a $200 per-student increase in funding. However, Florida’s graduation rate still trails the majority of the nation. Based on the latest data, from 2015-16, Florida’s 80.7 percent graduation rate was below the national average of 84 percent and was lower than graduation rates in 35 other states, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

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