The dropout rate for Polk County Public Schools has declined to a 12-year low, according to the Florida Department of Education.

The most recent data comes from the 2013-14 school year and shows the dropout rate at 3.4 percent. That was a 2.5 percent decrease from the previous year and represents a significant turning point, district officials said.

“This is very exciting news and continues the trend that we have seen thus far with other results,” said Polk County Superintendent Kathryn LeRoy. “Our schools have worked extremely hard to make these improvements. Kudos to our schools. They are doing amazing work.”

Despite the improvement, Polk County still ranks only 59th among Florida school districts in dropout rates. The district did move up eight spots from the previous year.

The 3.4 percent dropout rate was Polk's lowest since 2001-02, when its rate was 2.9 percent.