Graduation at the end of 11th grade will become optional, not mandatory, if a bill passed out favorably by the Senate Education Committee continues through the legislative process successfully. SB27 modifies a measure passed two years ago that would have required 11th grade graduation by 1991.

Early graduation was proposed to save the state money and also to eliminate wasted time in school for students who had little to do in the 12th grade.Educators in both public and higher education support making early graduation optional. Utah's colleges and universities are "not equipped to take a full 12th grade class in one year," said Superintendent James R. Moss. Utah's upgraded graduation requirements, along with opportunities for earning college credit while still in high school, have somewhat eliminated the potential for "dead time" in the 12th grade.

Sen. Lorin N. Pace, R-Salt Lake, said the option would allow students who are not getting anything out of school to leave a year early, if they can meet the graduation requirements in 11 years, saving the state money.

Sen. David H. Steele, R-West Point, cautioned that a push for early graduation could nullify some of the effort to upgrade the 12th grade, but voted to support the bill.

The State PTA also voiced support for making early graduation optional. Some students are not emotionally prepared for advanced school at that age, even if they have met academic requirements, said President Darlene Gubler.