The Nazareth Area School District will continue to offer a program for the upcoming school year, but it will be steered by a Pen Argyl company.
The school board voted unanimously Monday night to contract out the program, entering a five-year agreement with the David A. Moyer Driving School of Pen Argyl.
"I want to reaffirm to the school board and the public that we had to cut the driver education program from our curriculum but we are providing it to parents," Superintendent Victor D. Lesky said.
The program will be offered at a cost of $425 per student. That buys 30 hours of classroom instruction and six hours of driving. Students would then be able to take their driver's test right in class.
Board member Thomas Maher questioned how much the contracted program would cost the school district.
"It would be no cost," Lesky said.
The superintendent explained that Moyer would use the school facilities but have his own instructors and vehicles. He said an email would be sent to parents informing them that the program will be available.
The decision to cut the school’s own program came when the district approved a nearly $67 million budget in late May that included a 1.7 percent tax increase and about $2.1 million in cuts, including 13 positions. Of those, seven were teachers.
The nearly $2.1 million in cuts included: two special education teachers (Academic Support Program), two technology specialists (Teacher Leaders), two driver education teachers, a family consumer science teacher from the middle school, two custodial positions by attrition, printed school calendars, four high school monitor positions (one middle school monitor’s hours will be cut to three hours) and eliminating the Central Duplicating Center.
Terms of the deal with Moyer Driving School run from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1, 2016.
Lesky said the deal is pending the approval of the board's solicitor and the district's insurance coverage mandates.
Lesky had stated previously that the school board was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
“Unfortunately, the state of Pennsylvania has put this board in a position that it has to make these tough cuts and decisions," he said. "I’d love to have other ways.”