Archive for Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Board raises cost of driver’s education

Driver's education instructor Jon Brown gets ready to head out with another student from Free State High School. Brown has been teaching kids how to drive for 27 years.

Driver's education instructor Jon Brown gets ready to head out with another student from Free State High School. Brown has been teaching kids how to drive for 27 years.

January 13, 2009


Driver's education

The Lawrence school board gives driver's education the green light, but it will cost students more to get behind the wheel.

On the street

What do you remember about taking driver’s education?

They had a brake on the passenger side, and anytime I did anything at all out of the ordinary, they would slam on the brakes. The first time they did it, I thought I was going to die.

More responses

Lawrence school board members gave the green light to the driver’s education program at their meeting Monday night, but it will cost students $80 more to get behind the wheel.

Currently, it costs $120 for a student to take driver’s education and the district’s general fund has a $10,000 contingency for the program. The board decided to raise the cost to $200 and continue to provide the contingency fund.

Three board members — Rich Minder, Scott Morgan and Linda Robinson — voted against the initial motion to raise the price to $250 per student and to discontinue the contingency fund. However, both Morgan and Robinson voted for the raise to $200 with the contingency. Minder voted no. Board President Craig Grant was absent.

“My concern about raising prices to the point where it’s the same problem as before, this isn’t really public education,” Minder said. “Some people can afford to get this and some people can’t.”

The members did agree on the importance of the driver’s education program.

“I think it’s one of the most valuable things we teach,” Robinson said.

Morgan said driver’s ed falls outside the core curriculum, but remains vital. “We’ve got a number of things beyond the core group that we know are important to kids,” he said. “I put driver’s ed into that.”

The price raise will go into effect for the summer 2009 session.

The reason for reviewing the driver’s ed program was the decrease in state funding. The district used to get $88 per student, but that was dropped to $38 a student.

“That put us about $20,000 in the hole,” said Patrick Kelly, the fine arts, career and technical education curriculum specialist who oversees the driver’s ed program.

The program will also set a minimum number of students in order to continue.

“If we don’t reach our minimum, then we won’t be offering it,” Kelly said. The minimum number was not set at the meeting.

The board also wants to conduct a study on what things are important to teach in driver’s ed and how the program can be the most effective.

“We need to do some further study ... on cost and curriculum,” said board member Marlene Merrill.

The board also agreed that the issue of driver’s ed will be a continuing topic to talk about.

“I like to see this as the start to a very important discussion,” Morgan said.

On another topic, the board denied a charter to the Lawrence Community Environmental School.

Deputy Superintendent Bruce Passman cited issues that overshadow the charter, including time, resources, funding uncertainties and the district’s search for a superintendent to replace Randy Weseman, who is retiring at the end of the school year.

“The timing is not good right now,” Passman said.


wifemotherslave 9 years, 4 months ago

What no information on the Lawrence Community School??

wifemotherslave 9 years, 4 months ago

Sorry..I meant the Lawrence Community Environmental School.

jasb71 9 years, 4 months ago

This is total bs school and extra curricular fees are already to high!!!

Raider 9 years, 4 months ago

XD40Extra-curriculars such as sports and band should be free, as it plays such an important part in developing healthy young adults. Those who participate in some sort of organized activity learn much more in terms of discipline, teamwork and goal setting.Back to the topic: Driver's Ed should cost. Driving is not a right, it's a priviledge. Driver's ed should also be mandatory before someone can get their license.

mom_of_three 9 years, 4 months ago

Ariadne,Different budgets, different funds. I think you have been told this before.

mom_of_three 9 years, 4 months ago

How many other school districts do not offer driver's ed for the entire student body? There are limited spots in this drivers ed program, so not everyone gets to learn this way. Because of this and the time frame during the summer, my teens will be learning privately. but I wish they could experience driver's ed like we did as kids.

lounger 9 years, 4 months ago

"On another topic" -wow the Environmental school got so little press for such an important topic!! I cannot believe with the state of the environment that this was shot down!! I guess we will keep teaching our kids false economics and the like. Very sad and very unlike Lawrence!! The School board needs to pull its head out of its A*s!!!!!!!

denak 9 years, 4 months ago

I have nothing to compare it to so I really don't know if $200 dollars is an outrageous amount compared to what other school districts charge but, to me, $200 dollars sounds like a lot.Luckily, I don't have to pay for Driver's Ed but if I did, right now, I think that would be a stretch and I think for a lot of parents, it would be cost-prohibitive.Dena

tolawdjk 9 years, 4 months ago

If you can't afford the $200 for Driver's Ed, you can't afford the insurance increase on even a family policy for a car with a new driver.However, I would suggest a sliding scale based on the results of the class. You pass with flying colors, you pay a nominal fee towards costs plus price of fuel. You give your instructor a brain hemorage and are deemed unsafe at any speed, you pay more and cost of fuel.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.