PLAISTOW — Timberlane Regional High School may no longer offer a driver education program for students, but that doesn’t mean the students won’t be able to learn to drive on campus.
In May, the school board voted to do away with the program effective July 1, citing the financial and administrative burden it has placed on the district over the past several years.
At the time, school officials said they would consider allowing outside driving schools to rent space at the high school to operate their own independent summer and after-school programs.
With the official end of the program just days away, the district has received interest from outside driving schools looking to pick up the slack.
“Since May 8, we have had three independent driver education programs that have contacted Timberlane regarding the possibility of renting space during the summer program to hold driver education classes,” said Director of Secondary Education Scott Strainge.
Strainge said those programs have been given copies of the district’s policy on the use of school buildings. The programs will have to go through an application process and be approved by the superintendent.
Strainge said the district does not have an exclusive contract with any of the independent driving programs and that other programs are free to contact the district about renting classrooms.
“What we are looking for, hopefully, is that the competition of the vendors in the open market may work to the advantage of the students if more than one group is renting space at any particular time,” said Strainge.
In addition to summer sessions, Strainge said the driving programs may consider offering after-school programs at the high school in the fall.
Any program that rents space at the high school will carry its own insurance, and any complaints will be filed with the vendor, not the school.
“But, if we start to hear that there are some problems with anyone renting in the building, not just a driver education program, the rental agreement can be canceled by the district,” said Strainge.