School Committee votes to rev up driver’s ed price
The School Committee voted to increase the price of the High School’s driver’s education program from $40 to $50 an hour at its meeting on Thursday, Dec. 15.
The Committee was driven to increase the price after hearing testimony from Tina Clark, driver’s education director at the High School, who said that the school’s prices have stayed the same since 2005.
“There was always the philosophy that we were a little higher than communities and businesses because we are using town services to run the program,” she said, “and we didn’t want to put out any local businesses.”
However, due to the number of driving schools that succumbed to the pandemic, the High School has received an influx of student drivers from outside the district. 50% of students in the school’s summer program this year did not attend school in Wareham.
“It’s putting a lot of strain on our program,” Clark said, “and we’re not servicing the kids in our district as well.”
Clark researched the driver’s education prices of other schools in the area. The cheapest was $55 an hour, and the most expensive was $95 an hour. Even after increasing the price to $50 an hour, Wareham’s program is still the cheapest in the area.
Clark also proposed adding an additional charge to students from outside the district, in order to “keep the increase in costs minimal to our population in Wareham.”
“We don’t make a lot of money because it’s a one-on-one service,” she said.
The driver’s education program is self-funded. It does not receive any money from the District’s annual budget. All money earned from the program goes into the school’s revolving account, where it is used to pay instructors and purchase new vehicles. The account currently has $27,000 in it.
The program does not give any financial aid to students. Clark said that doing so would open up “a can of worms.”