You’ve probably seen the bumper sticker that says, “If you think education is expensive, try the alternative.”

The state’s Juvenile Justice Task Force issued a report last week showing just how expensive:

• About 4,000 Maine students fail to graduate with their classes each year, putting them at a much higher risk of crime.

• It costs $412 per day to keep a youth in Maine’s juvenile justice system, or nearly $150,000 per year.

• Half of the adults in Maine prisons did not finish high school.

• A career criminal costs society between $1.2 million and $2.4 million for repeated victimization, police, court and incarceration.

Those are big numbers, which point up the absolute imperative of keeping Maine’s students in school.

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