Complying with HB 91, School system awards diplomas retroactively
Earlier this year, Governor Deal signed House Bill 91 into law eliminating the Georgia High School Graduation Test as a requirement for graduation. Since the law went into effect, Evans County School System has awarded 67 diplomas retroactively to qualifying alumni.
The law is retroactive to 1981 and provides for a petition process for qualifying individuals to be awarded their high school diplomas. Every school system in the state had to institute a process through which individuals who did not pass the graduation test could petition the school for a diploma.
The school systems are required to report a number of diplomas awarded at the end of each fiscal year (by June 30).
Local residents who think they may qualify can obtain a petition from and return it to the Board of Education office or Claxton High School. Once a petition is submitted, a counselor will check the person's transcripts for eligibility - all graduation requirements with the exception of passing the graduation test must be met. Petitioners will be advised if additional credits are needed.
The process from petition to awarding of a diploma may take some time - graduation requirements change often and each petitioner will have to be evaluated based on the requirements for the year they should have received their diploma.
Dr. Joy Collins, school superintendent, said earlier this year that the school district expects to receive inquiries about HB 91 for quite some time. "I feel like we will probably get calls ... There's a lot of diplomas at the high school that have not been awarded," she said.