All five counties have seen decreases in the number of dropouts since 2009.
SOUTHEASTERN, NC (WECT) – A state report shows fewer students in southeastern North Carolina are dropping out of school. School officials said it's thanks to programs specifically put in place to target kids at risk of dropping out.
All five counties in the Cape Fear area have seen decreases in the number of dropouts since 2009.
Bladen has the highest dropout rate at 4.22% for the 2012-2013 school year, but that's down from 5.45% for the 2011-2012 school year.
Pender County has the lowest dropout rate in our area with 1.95%.
Brunswick County's dropout rate is 3.09%, Columbus County is a 2.65%, and New Hanover County has a rate of 2.29%.
Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley of New Hanover County Schools said that although the number is low and keeps going down, the reality is there is more work to be done.
"I think that transition from eighth to ninth grade is tough when you go from being in a middle school to a high school," Markley said. "We got to make sure these kids don' get lost in that ninth grade year, and that we're doing a good job of tracking them and finding those that are in trouble."
The entire state saw a decrease in dropouts. A total of 11,049 high school students dropped out in 2013 as compared to 13,488 in 2012.