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Local

Driver's ed going up $125 at Rock Falls High School

First fee hike in more than 20 years

ROCK FALLS – Gas isn't the only thing going up in price these days.

The cost to take driver's education at Rock Falls High School is taking a jump, from the $50 it has cost for more than two decades to $175 next school year.

That's still less than the $250 Sterling High School charges, but more than the $75 it costs at Morrison High School. Amboy High charges its students $180; at Prophetstown, it's $100; and at Dixon, $150.

The private business Drive Safe School of Driving in Dixon, which gets no state subsidies or other public assistance, charges $350 per student.

As required by the state, Rock Falls High held a public hearing on the proposed hike on March 19; one person spoke against it. The district then sent a request to the state for a waiver to impose the hike; the board will finalize the hike once the waiver is granted, Superintendent Ron McCord said.

Eventually, the fee will reach $250, McCord said. The state raised the cap from $50 to $250 in July 2011.

Even with the increase, the school loses money on the course: Considering salaries, benefits and other related costs, driver's ed costs the district about $1,000 a student, McCord said.

By state law, driver's ed fees must be put back into the program; they cannot be used for any other purpose. The fee can be waived for low-income students.

Rock Falls has four teachers certified to teach the course, and about 138 students expected to enroll in it next year, McCord said.

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