Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Drivers ed course making return trip

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 1/3/2014

WELLSVILLE — Josh Adams hopes his community joins in his excitement for the return of the Wellsville drivers education program, he said.

“I haven’t heard anything. I am assuming [students] will like it,” Adams, Wellsville High School principal, said. “I know that they wanted it, and it is something that the community wanted. I think it is good that we offer it.”

WELLSVILLE — Josh Adams hopes his community joins in his excitement for the return of the Wellsville drivers education program, he said.

“I haven’t heard anything. I am assuming [students] will like it,” Adams, Wellsville High School principal, said. “I know that they wanted it, and it is something that the community wanted. I think it is good that we offer it.”

The Wellsville school board voted in December to revive the program this summer, Jerry Henn, Wellsville superintendent, said.

Wellsville has not offered a drivers education program for the past two summers, Adams said. While changes have been made to the program since Wellsville last offered it, the coming course will be more financially stable, he said.

“We’d got rid of it strictly due to budget,” Adams said. “As a former drivers ed teacher, I feel like [drivers education] is really important. We were able to basically break even now with some changes that we made. We are able to offer it and not lose money.”

Fourteen-year-olds can apply for an instruction permit, but must complete drivers education to get a restricted license at 15, according to the Kansas Department of Revenue website.

Adams and Henn estimated as many 40 students could be enrolled in this summer’s drivers education course. The classroom portion of the course is set to begin June 2 at Wellsville High School, 602 Walnut St., Wellsville. A series of two-hour sessions will be scheduled for two weeks, followed by the driving portion of the course. Students will be scheduled to drive at individual times, Adams said.

“We used to make all students take 30 hours of the classroom part, and we are cutting that down to 20 hours,” Adams said. “The driving part is all outcome based. You used to have to drive six hours or something. Now you have to be able to do this skill, this skill and this skill and then once you have done that, you are done.

“Basically each kid is going to be different,” Adams said. “We have some kids who have been driving on the farm forever. It isn’t going to take them as much time as the kids who have never been behind the wheel. As soon as you can do it, you move on the next thing. And as soon as you can do everything, you are done.”

While every student likely will take a different amount of time to complete the program, Adams said, the average driving time is about six hours.

“You are going to have some kids who can do it in four [hours] and some who can do it in eight [hours],” he said.

The cost for this summer’s course is $250 per student, Adams said.

“That was kind of our break-even,” he said. “It is a good price.”

The next step for the drivers education program would be to hire instructors for both the classroom portion and the driving portion of the course, Adams and Henn said.

“We haven’t hired anybody yet,” Adams said. “In the past we’ve had two — one who teaches the classroom and one who does the driving portion. We will probably open that up in March.”

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