Officials with the Edinburg CISD say they are making a conscious effort to reduce a rising dropout rate by next year.

The school district is proposing a public Options High School by Jan. 2011. The alternative school, which still has an undetermined location, will provide a schedule that will accommodate day or night classes that will enable students to obtain their high school diploma.

Superintendent of Edinburg Schools Dr. Rene Gutierrez said the district will also collaborate with the University of Texas-Pan American and South Texas College to facilitate the transition into a higher education facility.

“We want to be able to work with them (students), collaborate with them and build a partnership that we are able to work with as they are obtaining a diploma,” Gutierrez told the Edinburg Review following the ECISD State of the District message last week. “It’s so they can start enrolling in classes and the universities at the same time so they can be on target and able to continue into higher education.”

There are about 350 students in the last three years who have not graduated due to the lack of credits or because they have not passed the state exam, according to Gutierrez.

“There is a need to bring these students back and instead of going through our regular traditional high school when they’re 19 or 20 year olds, it’s better to provide them with an alternative campus with flexible scheduling so they can attend and be able to meet the graduation requirements they need,” Gutierrez said.