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Aurora parent makes plea against cut  in driver’s ed

Ryan Sherrod west aurorhigh school grad.  died 4-14-10 car crash route 47 outside Waubonsee Community College.

Ryan Sherrod, west aurora high school grad. died 4-14-10 in a car crash on route 47 outside of Waubonsee Community College.

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Updated: December 22, 2012 6:29AM

AURORA — The father of an Aurora teen who died in a crash two years ago made an emotional plea to the West Aurora School Board this week, as the board contemplates changes to the driver’s education program.

Jim Sherrod is the father of Ryan Sherrod, an 18-year-old West Aurora High School graduate who lost his life in a car crash on Route 47 near Waubonsee Community College in April 2010. Sherrod asked the board to keep simulators as part of the learning process for West Aurora driver’s education.

“We’re training them to be safe drivers and problem solvers,” he said. “I believe that these simulators allow them to do that.”

The School District is looking at ways to cope with a 28 percent drop in state aid to cover driver’s education programs. In the past, School Board members have mentioned the option of eliminating the use of simulators.

Currently the district requires 30 hours of classroom time, three hours of behind the wheel time, and 12 hours of simulators.

Superintendent James Rydland said the simulators are expensive machines that the school recently updated. “We hope the state would support our ability to use them,” he said.

Sherrod outlined the differences between some of the school’s general education classes, and learning how to drive.

“If they give the wrong answer on some trivial question, they’re not going to lose their life,” he said.

He asked the board to weigh the safety ramifications against the budget cuts they face.

School Board President Neal Ormond said that he wished state officials realized what their funding cuts meant on a personal level.

“I wish sometimes that the state people could hear the comments like the ones Mr. Sherrod just made,” Ormond said.

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