The Lawrence school board approved another $25 price hike in the driver’s education program to help ensure that it continues.
This comes after an initial increase of $200 during the Jan. 12 board meeting.
“The timing was unfortunate because two days later the first round of budget recommendations come out and included no funding for driver’s education,” said Patrick Kelly, the fine arts, career and technical education curriculum specialist. The program will keep the $10,000 contingency fund also approved at the Jan. 12 meeting.
Kelly said the program needs at least 200 students to enroll at the cost of $225 to keep the program.
“I think if we have under 200 students, we’re really going to look if we’re going to have the program or not,” he said.
The board approved the increase 6 to 1, with member Rich Minder voting no.
“It’s not just the insurance companies that offer a break on it because they do know that traditional driver’s ed doesn’t, according to their criteria, doesn’t work for what they’re looking to insure,” Minder said.
Other board members think the program is important, but may need some revamping in the future.
“I think that it’s reasonable to increase the fee,” Marlene Merrill said. “I think we’re going to have to watch the numbers, though.”
Mary Loveland agreed. “If we cancel it, it’ll never get fixed.”
Virtual school action
The board also heard from Lawrence Virtual School Principal Gary Lewis, who reported the closing of the secondary program at the school after this year.
“We’ve been reflecting on this for about a year,” he said.
The high school program had about 100 students, 18 of whom live in Lawrence. Lewis noted the drop in enrollment for virtual high school programs throughout the state.
“We can still bring a virtual course into a bricks and mortar school covering the educational needs,” Lewis said.