Law has little effect on Glenbrook driving students
Glenview Friday, 8/31/12 Drivers education instructor, John Skorupa gives some final instructions to 15-year-old, Bogdan Vanciu at Glenbrook South High School Friday. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:06AM
State Sen. Susan Garrett’s (D-29) law to improve driver education, which passed Aug. 21, may have little effect on Glenbrook School District 225’s program.
That may be because Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South High Schools were already operating under similar criteria.
Garrett’s law focuses on developing course standards, maintaining reasonable costs and ensuring vehicle safety, as well as increasing transparency and accountability.
“As the cost of drivers education continues to escalate, we have seen that teenagers are opting out of taking driver ed courses. It is critical that we rein in the costs and, at the same time, ensure that we have safe and accountable driving education programs throughout the state, ” Garrett said.
Driver education costs $350 a course at School District 225 schools, a price set by the school board, but the district price is a little less than half of what area commercial schools charge – $550 to $700 a course. The district more than complies with the state’s requirements, said John Skorupa, a driver education instructor at Glenbrook South.
“ District 225 students get about 37 hours of class time and about nine hours behind the wheel, although the state minimum is 30 hours class time and six hours behind the wheel, Skorupa said.
“We have a very solid curriculum and work closely with the Secretary of State’s office. Secretary Jesse White has been by and likes what we’ve done. We have a very cutting edge program, he added.”
Skorupa also noted that the district more than complies with directives involving driver ed vehicles.
Under Garrett’s legislation, Illinois Department of Transportation inspection is mandatory twice a year for cars more than five years old and with more than 75,000 miles on their odometers.
The school has seven 2007 Toyota Prii that don’t qualify yet and have been fully inspected by a dealership every year for safety issues.
“They also are garaged at night as a security measure,” Skorupa said.
The school even has video cameras mounted on car roofs facing the front and the back, as well as inside, so students may see what is happening when they drive. They let kids see in a safe environment what to expect on a roadway so when they drive on the road, he added.
The students, in classes of about 28 to 30, have a 98 percent success rate for their first attempt at getting drivers licenses. And Glenbrook South educates about 150 students a school year.
Bob Pieper, head varsity football coach at Glenbrook North who is in charge of driver ed there, said the school educates about 225 student drivers a year, with about 90 Glenbrook North and South students during the summer. They also drive 2007 Prii, which are kept in a similar manner.
“Some kids might not be able to fit drivers ed into their schedules, so their parents turn to commercial driving schools,” Pieper said. “But we have one of the top programs around. Our priority is safety and putting good drivers on the road.”~ .