Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rumor control: Is the BOE going to "dump" Driver's Ed?

A friend pointed out to me that one person with a blog has claimed that the Board of Ed is "looking to dump" driver's education at Ridgewood High School, and asked if it's true. In light of the fact that some blogs run ads and may choose to stir up controversy in order to maintain readership levels and thus justify ad rates, making things up is understandable (I guess). I'm glad this one parent decided to verify the "facts."

The fact is, the Board did review financials for the Ridgewood Community School during the 9/27 public meeting. Driver's Ed is run through the RCS. And it is true that on a line-by-line basis, Driver's Ed is not a profit-maker. It is a net expense. That is, it costs us more to run the program (salaries, cars, etc.) than it brings in via fees charged. It is also true several other Ridgewood Community School programs (mostly athletics) run a healthy profit. Overall, the entire Ridgewood Community School runs at a slight profit.

At the 9/27 BOE meeting, I said, "The reality is, some of the other programs are subsidizing driver's ed, which is fine." The conversation around the table was in agreement. We actually talked about not wanting anyone to think that we were expecting driver's ed to make a profit...we mentioned that it's important that we offer Driver's Ed. In fact, I asked if we could do an estimation of how many more students we would need to add to get the program to break even, if that's even possible.

So, rest assured, Driver's Ed is not in danger.

P.S. I was going to recommend that anyone who's curious could watch the webcast of the 9/27 meeting. I watched myself and discovered that the video for that particular meeting is having technical difficulties. A few minutes in, the screen goes blank and there is just audio, which has a terrible echo. It is very difficult to make out the conversation. Hopefully the video file can be improved.

While I'm at it, let me just make a quick plug for those video webcasts of our public meetings. I frequently go back to watch or listen, to remind myself of what was said. The videos are posted quite soon after the meetings. I encourage anyone who is interested in BOE business, but doesn't have the time or patience to attend a meeting or watch live online or on Channel 77, to watch the archived webcasts. You can fast forward to the "good parts!" Have a good day!


Anonymous said...

Thank you .....I had read the article on another blog that they were considering dropping Driver's Ed and was concerned. One of my children took the course a few years ago and the other should next year. It was done very professionally and was very convenient. I am glad it will be staying, and thanks again for clarifying the issue.

Anonymous said...

The webcasts of the meetings never come through for me. The screen is frozen or broken up most of the time and the audio unintelligible. Can you explain this?

Laurie said...

Hmmm...I have had problems with the webcast quality at times. As a test...go to the webcast for the 9/13/10 meeting and let me know how that one works. When I watch it, the video starts out a little jumpy and then is clear, with clear audio, throughout. Let me know how that one works for you -- maybe we can determine if it's a problem with specific dates/files or your computer or internet service. (BTW, what kind of internet service do you have?)

Anonymous said...

The current meeting will not load at all and the prior ones in the archives come in as broken up pictures with no sound. If I let them load for a while, I get broken up unintelligible sound with the broken picture. I have also tried downloading the meetings, but all I get is a few seconds of nothing. My internet service is Verizon DSL.