The high school dropout rate in New Brunswick dropped to its lowest level in recent memory last year.
Statistics released by the Education department put the dropout rate from September 2011 to September 2012 at 1.7 per cent of students in Grades 7 to 12.
According to the report, that is the lowest rate going back as far as 2000-01, and the only time during that period in which the provincial rate was below 2.0 per cent. At the time of the 2000-01 report, the rate of 2.9 per cent recorded that year was the lowest in the previous 10 years, which puts last year's dropout figure as the lowest in more than 20 years, if not in recorded history.
The report shows 859 students dropped out of school last year, including 767 who were at the high school level. In 2000-01, when the dropout rate was 2.9 per cent, the number of students leaving school was 1,730.
More than 75 per cent of the students who dropped out last year indicated that "personal problems" were their reason for leaving school.
Schools in the anglophone school system had a dropout rate of 1.9 per cent, compared to a rate of 1.1 per cent in francophone schools.
The highest rate in the province was in the Anglophone North District, stretching from Campbellton to Rexton, at 2.4 per cent, or 116 students. That's down from 198 the previous year, or 3.9 per cent.
A high school student in Miramichi says he's not surprised so many of his peers are dropping out of school.
District superintendent Nancy Boucher says the school board plans to review every instance of a student dropping out in the year in question.
"Certainly it's a cause for concern," said Boucher.
An earlier version of this story quoted Tony Larry and indicated he was a student at James M. Hill Memorial High School. In fact, he is not a student at that school.Oct 11, 2013 8:51 AM AT