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School's out - Utah (statewide)
Savings: $102 million statewide

State Sen. Chris Buttars, R-Utah, initially proposed that the 12th grade be hacked from the education system statewide. But the senator modified his pitch, instead suggesting that Utah, which is $750 million in the hole, make senior year of high school optional.

One solution Buttars hopes to implement is to provide financial incentives for students who opt to graduate early, which could save the state $102 million annually. He plans to test the idea in a pilot program in his district, which cover West Jordan, South Jordan and Harriman, next fall.

The senator says that more than 80% of the 6,000 high school seniors in his district have enough credits to graduate by the start of senior year. But only 300 students choose to do so because the option is not widely-publicized.

Buttars hopes his pilot program will help spread the word about early graduation, provide students with grants up to $2,000 toward a college education, and ultimately reduce the school district's $30 million deficit by a third.

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Last updated March 11 2010: 1:59 PM ET
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