Driver education could be dropped Board of Education to weigh proposal

February 09, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Instead of trying to squeeze driver education into their class schedules, students who want to take the course may have to fit it between extracurricular activities and after-school jobs.

The Board of Education will hear a proposal from its staff tomorrow to eliminate driving classes from the school day starting in the 1994-1995 school year, mainly because of increasing costs.

Driver education already has been eliminated in Frederick, Anne Arundel, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's and Baltimore counties, according to a report from Carroll's school administrators.

No vote is scheduled tomorrow. The board could decide the issue as early as March.

Peter B. McDowell, director of secondary education, would not comment on the proposal until after the board meeting.

His report to the board says:

"It is proposed that driver's education would be offered as part of the evening high school program at all five high schools on a contracted basis with private service providers."

The report recommends waiting until the 1994-1995 school year because students already have begun scheduling classes for the 1993-'94 school year.

Mr. McDowell wrote that if driver education continues, the driving simulators that are used at all five high schools would have to be replaced at a cost of about $450,000.

Driver education was one of the first things to go when Frederick schools started getting recession- related budget cuts about three years ago, said Kevin Castner, an associate superintendent there.

"The community reaction was not overwhelming when the decision was made," Dr. Castner said, but a "strong lobby" asked for it to be put back.

He said the system saved $150,000 to $180,000 a year by cutting the driver education classes.

Frederick Community College began offering the course, he said, and employed many of the same teachers the public schools had been using.

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