Money management could soon be a high school graduation requirement in Kentucky

Financial literacy could soon become a high school graduation requirement in Kentucky. (WCHS/WVAH)

Some Kentucky lawmakers want to make sure high school students have a better understanding of money before they graduate and are backing a bill that would make financial literacy a high school graduation requirement.

Peyton Henderson, a senior at Boyd County High School, has a part-time job and a bank account, but acknowledges at times he is not the best money manager.

"Sometimes, I spend money on things I shouldn't," Henderson said.

Reese Robinson, a senior at Boyd County High School, is in the same boat.

"I'm pretty horrible," Robinson said. "I buy a lot of things I probably shouldn't."

Graduating seniors such as Henderson and Robinson would learn money management before they graduate under a bill before the Kentucky Legislature, teaching them how to budget, save and invest money. It would become a graduation requirement for students entering their freshman year of high school in the year 2020.

"It would make me feel more secure about handling money and being able to take care of myself," said Lexi Marcum, a freshman at Boyd County High School.

The legislation has hit a money management snag. Some Kentucky lawmakers wonder how the state is going to pay for the requirement, calling it an unfunded mandate.

"I'm worried about us using unfunded mandates at this time when we're trying to get a budget that's going to be very, very tight," Rep. Steve Riley, R-Glasgow, said.

Some lawmakers said the issue needs to be a priority.

"If we want to fix financial illiteracy, we must get away from the notion that it is a privilege to know how money works," Rep. Jim Duplessis, R-Elizabethtown, said.

Some school administrators said they believe it is an important part of shaping the future for students.

"Money is important and how they manage that will impact their lives," said Doug DeBorde, principal at Boyd County Career and Technical Center.

DeBorde said his school teaches a financial literacy course, but it's an elective and not a requirement. He said students should learn money management.

Henderson said the majority of students are going to college or trade schools or making some sort of future plans.

"You've got to find some way to manage your money so you can get by," Henderson said.

The bill has passed the House, and now goes to the Kentucky Senate for consideration. The Kentucky Board of Education would establish the standards for the financial literacy requirement, but local districts and schools could chose specific courses.

For more information about the bill, visit here.

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