Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
Among all the proposals from school districts to increase driver’s education fees this year was a proposal from DeKalb Community School District 428 to keep fees the same. The catch was they proposed to outsource behind-the-wheel driver’s education instruction to a private company.
In the waiver request to the House education committee, the school district offered to keep its driver’s ed fee at $200 and still teach students about driving in the classroom. State law currently requires schools to provide both classroom and six hours of driving instruction for student drivers.
School “user fees” for all types of student activities now total hundreds of dollars per student as schools try to balance their budgets. Currently the DeKalb school district spends $230,000 per year beyond the fee they collect to offer driver’s education.
I compliment DeKalb for being creative; this was the first state request to outsource the driving portion. Waivers are given for districts to use driving simulators for a portion of the behind the wheel instruction in an effort to reduce student costs. However, the committee decided to deny the request to outsource and instead allow the DeKalb district to double its fees to $400 per student.
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