By Natalie Maier
As Liz Graupner, education professions student and junior, prepares for her school day, it involves driving to school. But for Graupner, that school is Mohawk Trails Elementary, where she teaches students in order to meet the requirements for her educations professions class.
“I like teaching lessons and feeling like a professional teacher. It makes blue days easy,” Graupner said. Although this class could offer benefits for aspiring teachers, one of the drawbacks of taking this class and other classes that require students to meet off campus is the expected rise in gas prices in the coming months.
Recent surveys through Gallup.com show that Americans expect gas to rise to $4.36 a gallon for this year. These expectations are not unfounded, as over the course of last year, gas prices raised about 75 cents.
K-8 mentoring is another class at CHS that requires students to go to different elementary and middle schools throughout the district to meet with younger students. K-8 mentoring teacher Robin Pletcher said she does not expect school policies to change regarding students paying for their own gas.
Pletcher said, “Policies would not change, because students would still need to drive to school to see the kids. That is the basis of the class. I don’t know if there would be a possibility of when we could change schools and map it out more. I would look into carpool so students could go at the same time if prices become an issue.”
For some students enrolled in education professions, reimbursement is possible. Brittany Wiseman, Family and Consumer Sciences Department Chair said via email, “The school district has a set mileage form for each school year stated the amount of money a teacher will be reimbursed per mile. It shouldn’t affect the teacher side of things because the teacher is aware they have to travel from school to school as part of their class responsibilities.”
However, Graupner is not reimbursed for the money she spends on gas. “I don’t get reimbursed for the money I spend on gas.” Graupner said, “But the kids that don’t want to drive can go to Carmel Elementary, so it’s not really a problem.”
Despite the potential challenges of high prices for travel to other schools, Wiseman does not think enrollment levels for education professions will change in the near future. Wiseman said, “I don’t foresee it having a huge impact on enrollment for next year because students often drive to school anyway. They can select a school that is close to their home to save on the price of gas.”
Even though gas prices increased by 14 cents a gallon during the week of March 10, according to Gallup.com, Annie Wharton, K-8 mentoring student and senior, believes the prices are worth it. “What you can gain from the class outweighs the gas prices. I think carpooling is key,” Wharton said.
Graupner agrees with Wharton. “I only drive three minutes to get to Mohawk. It’s really close to my house.” Graupner said, “There are also other things that I like with the class, like we get a parking pass. It doesn’t feel as much like school and you feel like you have more freedoms.”
“The schools are all close enough, and you only go to that school one time a week,” Pletcher said. “You wouldn’t go multiple times. I feel like being able to be a mentor to the kids outweighs the cost over the course of the year. It’s only one less shirt or pair of shoes, but you’ve impacted the lives of kids.”