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Marengo County students ask school board for driver’s education class

The Marengo County Board of Education was approached by several tenth grade students and teacher Amber Matthews from Marengo High School in order to request a driver’s education class during the academic school year.

Several students gave their reasons for the request, including that they would be more likely to pass the driver’s test, their insurance rates would be lower and they would be able to practice in a safer and more supervised environment.

Superintendent Luke Hallmark told the students that it is too late in the year for the course to be added, but he will look into it for the following year.

“We’ll work with you because I know kids need it,” he said.

Matthews gave the name of a teacher who is willing to take the course, which Hallmark said will cost the school system approximately $2,000, in order to teach driver’s education to students. Hallmark also assured the students that if the class is added the following year, they will still be able to take it as juniors.

Hallmark, the other board members and Chief Financial Officer Diana Luker discussed how to ensure the teacher will stay within the school district for a set amount of time once the system pays for the costs that would incur if a teacher is sent to complete the course. Costs would include the course fee, mileage, hotel stay and meals.

“We want to get the money back out of it,” Hallmark said.

There is no salary increase associated with teaching driver’s education, though teachers can charge a fee for summer classes.

During the superintendent’s report, Hallmark also suggested the possibility of adding more activities, such as flag football, for girls in the school system. “I think we could have some involvement,” he said, if there is enough student interest.

Other actions taken by the board include: entering executive session based on good name and character;  approving financial reports for December; and approving personnel recommendations.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, January 29 issue of the Demopolis Times.)