Before a teenager can obtain a driver's license he or she has to complete a driver's education course. Now instead of having to pay over $250 teenagers may soon have another option.
The Thomaston-Upson School System is looking into providing that service for free and want to start as soon as possible.
Board of Education member Terrell Jackson told fellow board members Thursday night that he wanted to look into providing the course and didn't see a reason why they couldn't.
Board member Miriam Elsey said at one time the school had a partnership with Flint River Technical College to conduct the course through a grant the college had.
Board Chairperson Jacqueline Hollis said funding for the grant was lost before the program even began.
Jackson said he was told by Upson County Probate Judge Gary Hamby that his office receives between $2,500 and $2,700 per month earmarked for drivers education.
“Pike County is offering the program for free,” Jackson said. “If they and other counties can, then we should. This is something we can and should do. Studies say 6,000 teenagers die each year in auto accidents, and that is an alarming figure.”
Georgia State Trooper Maurice Raines, who was at Thursday's board meeting, said the number in the state of Georgia is 400.
“When the legislature made that law, they had money earmarked for the program,” Raines said. “They spent the money on advertising and other stuff that wasn't needed.
“Kids who are less fortunate are not able to get a license when all the schools have the personnel and resources. I commend you for bringing it up tonight.
“It's embarrassing as a law enforcement officer that there are 16-year-olds worrying their parents because they don't have the money to take the course.”
Jackson and fellow board member Keith Rohling were appointed to look into the matter and bring a report back to the board next month.