Wayland schools to hire either All-Star or Century for driver ed

Drivers’ education will be a differeimagesnt animal for the Wayland Union school district in the next academic year.

The Wayland Board of Education earlier this year decided to drop Gun Lake Casino funding support to ease costs of the program for students and their parents. An agreement to have teachers provide driving instruction has been scrapped as well.

So now the board will have to decide between two private driver training firms, All-Star Driver Education and Century Driving School, to provide the services.

Dave Gless, retired special education teacher at Wayland and one of the driving instructors, appeared before board members at their meeting Monday night to speak on behalf of All-Star. He said that virtually all the instructors over the past couple of years will continue to work for All-Star, including himself, Pat Nelson, Scott Hall and Trent Velthouse.

“It’s easiest to just continue the same program,” Gless told the board. “We’ve served more than 500 students without incident.”

Century Driving School provided driver education services until a couple of years ago, when the school board opted to contract with the former teachers and provide reduced costs of between $225 and $250 per student. However, the board this year has gone in a different direction on how to use the casino funding support, which amounts to just under $1.5 million a year. Furthermore, the schools are getting out of the driver education business and instead are contracting with a private service.

Century has a service located on Reno Drive in Wayland. All-Star has two locations in Dorr and one in Hopkins.

Finance Director Bill Melching said the two companies are very similar in their costs, which are estimated at between $330 and $340 per student. However, school employee Kim Page would have to do some minimal clerical staff time for Century, but none for All-Star.

The Board of Education is expected to weigh the bids of both companies and decide on which will be contracted at its Aug. 10 meeting.

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