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Local

Driver's education fee to stay flat at $250 for Kaneland students

15 paraprofessionals may possibly not come back to work next year

SUGAR GROVE – The Kaneland Board of Education established the 2018-19 driver’s education fee for Kaneland High School at $250 per student.

Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, associate superintendent, explained that each year the School Board is required to set or approve school fees, such as driver’s education and that a public hearing is needed to set that fee.

For years, Kaneland was able to charge students $250 for their driver’s education fee via a waiver from the Illinois State Board of Education, but after Public Act 96-734 was amended, the rules of the ISBE allowed the district to charge a fee of $50, unless a student proved unable to pay for the course, in which case the fee was waived. Kaneland has been able to increase this fee to as much as $250 by School Board resolution following a public hearing, such as the aforementioned hearing during the April 9 board meeting.

Teresa Witt, School Board president, inquired about whether it’s still necessary for the high school to continue offering driver’s education and District Superintendent Dr. Todd Leden explained why he thinks it’s important for the instruction to come from within the school.

“There are two primary reasons why we want our teachers to teach driver’s ed,” Leden said. “We looked at the offerings in our District 302, and we don’t have a number of driver-related schools and two, with the number of country roads that our students drive on regularly and the distances to and from school, we think it’s in our best interest to have our Kaneland driver’s ed teachers teaching them driver’s ed."

The School Board also approved a resolution presented by Chris Adkins, human resources director for the district, authorizing notice of nonrenewal of 15 paraprofessionals. These associates may return to the district if it is deemed that more paraprofessionals are needed.

“So legally we have to tell these people that we don’t think we have a job for them next year, but we probably do,” board vice president Ryan Kerry asked. “But we have to tell them ‘No,’ so we don’t get caught with more staff than we have people for?”

Board member Peter Lopatin asked Adkins if there is a less barbaric way of treating these paraprofessionals.

“I don’t feel there is a solution other than having to continue this process,” Lopatin said. “But if some other district has found a way to do this in a more humane way that doesn’t cause this impact on teachers, and everyone has to go through this process, I encourage you to seek out a best practice and change it because every year we go through this.”

Adkins explained that it’s a long-term problem that all districts are facing.

“It’s done according to school code and those school codes are probably in the ’85 timeframe when they were put into play,” he said. “They’re maybe a little outdated and I know this conversation is being held at every district at this time."

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