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Florida's law promising to revoke the driver's licenses of teenagers who drop out of school rode off into the sunset this summer, expiring from nonrenewal after six years.

The law--one of a host of state driver's license statutes passed in an effort to encourage teenagers to stay in school--applied to teens age 18 and younger. But a "sunset provision" automatically erased the Florida law from the books this year unless lawmakers voted to keep it.

The legislature did not take action because leaders felt the policy had become ineffective.

Supporters speculated the ban on licenses for dropouts might have lasted longer had it not been rewritten in 1993 to make mere enrollment in school the determining factor.

Before then, regular attendance was required.

Over its six-year run, the law had revoked the licenses of 5,267 dropout drivers.

There is no indication of whether the law's death will affect high school attendance.

For the 1994-95 school year, 5.25 percent of Florida high school students dropped out of school.

That proportion was down from 5.6 percent during the 1990-91 school year, the year after the law was passed.

Upward Mobility

Louisiana's new state schools chief obviously knows his math.

Cecil Picard spent two decades serving as a Democratic legislator, including the post of education committee chairman. Base pay for a legislator in Louisiana runs around $24,000, according to state officials.

But after taking office at the end of this year's legislative session, the new chief is poised to end his public service as the state superintendent of education, a post that pays between $95,000 and $115,000, not to mention a $12,000-a-year stipend for housing and job-related expenses.

Because state pension payouts are weighted toward the best-paying three years of an employee's tenure, Mr. Picard's three-year tenure stands to leave him with more than memories.

By the time the former schoolteacher retires--assuming he serves his full term--he could expect an estimated $100,000 a year in retirement benefits, state officials said.

Vol. 15, Issue 41

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