Schools to stop offering driver education course

April 18, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Beginning in fall 1994, Carroll teen-agers will have to tap their savings or their parents' wallets to pay for driver education.

The county school board, on a 4-1 vote Wednesday, eliminated driver education from the curriculum. Driver education will be offered for the last time during the 1993-94 school year. Students pay $65 to cover on-the-road instruction costs.

Board member Joseph D. Mish Jr. dissented. He said he preferred that the board adopt some compromise, such as after-school instruction at rates lower than what private companies charge.

"I still have a concern that there's no way for kids to get instruction who don't have several hundred dollars," he said.

But board member John D. Myers Jr. said that if having a student learn to drive was a priority for a family, that family would find the money for private instruction.

Students can expect to pay more than $200 to have someone from a private company teach them to drive.

In making its decision, the board agreed with a staff report that providing driver education after school would be too costly.

In their report to the school board, staff members estimated that it would cost $229,000 and require 60 teachers for the school system to provide evening, summer or Saturday driver education.

It would cost the system $150 to $190 per student to contract driver education to a private firm and allow the use of school facilities, they said.

High school principals initiated the request to drop driver education.

Although the measure would save money, the principals said their primary reason was to free up teachers and space to accommodate growing enrollment.

They also said driver education takes twice as many teachers and rooms as any other class.

"I don't have study hall coverage for next year unless we start chopping off classes," said David Booz, South Carroll High School principal.

Seventeen other school districts in Maryland no longer offer driver education, said Robert Bastress, Liberty High School principal.

School officials said about 1,500 students a year take driver education.

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