Mackay students will now pay $200 to take driving lessons, and for the first time, people who don’t attend school in the district can pay $275 to join them.
Mackay school board members changed their fee structure after a June 28 public hearing on the issue. The fee had been $150 for district students. According to Superintendent Susan Buescher, no members of the public attended the hearing, so board members were able to launch immediately into a special meeting and approve the fee changes.
The increase and expansion occurred as district officials work to offer competitive salaries to driver’s education teachers, Buescher said. The new fees pay for driving instructor Tricia Rhead to keep teaching. State-level administrators recommended the increase as a way to incentivize Rhead and future driving instructors to work in Mackay, Buescher said.
It had been several years since school board members and administrators analyzed the driver’s education fee, Buescher said. After seeing what other Idaho districts charge, Buescher said they realized an increase was warranted.
Non-Mackay district students will only be accepted if space allows. There will be no difference in the education they receive, “they just pay more,” Buescher said.
While she knows some people don’t like fees being raised in general, Buescher clarified the 5 percent increase and the charge for out-of-district students are still comparatively cheap. Some private driver’s training companies in Idaho charge students more than $300 for lessons, she said.