April 21. 2014 10:30PM

Plaistow looks at driver education options

Union Leader Correspondent

PLAISTOW — Students wanting to take driver education at Timberlane Regional High School next year could have a better idea of their options following the district's May 8 school board meeting.

Earlier this month, Superintendent Earl Metzler and the school board agreed to look at options for the program, which has been losing a significant amount of money each year.

The program lost close to $50,000 last school year and so far this year, it has lost about $35,000, Metzler said.

Approximately 200 students per year enroll in the program. There are 10, seven-week sessions offered per year and the program employs three part-time instructors, according to Metzler.

At the most recent school board meeting, one of those instructors said she would like to work with the administration to help save the program.

Instructor Cheryl Roy said there are some financial issues with the program, but the program has provided quality driver education for the high school's students for a number of years.

Roy said if the school board decided to contract driver education out to a private firm, the private firms would only take the contract because they would see an opportunity to make a profit.

“The problem is that some of the private schools are just meeting the minimum state requirements, and our standards are high,” said Roy.

Metzler recommended that Roy meet with director of secondary educator Scott Strainge to further discuss the driver education program.

“Right now, we are trying to find the best way to provide that service, and it is an agenda item for May 8,” said Metzler. “We are looking at all the options and trying to make the numbers work. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of strangers coming to our school and taking (students) out and driving them around.”

Metzler said he hoped to have a complete report on the driver education program with options for proceeding to the school board on May 8.