Driver’s ed suspended as state funding ends

Published 9:43 am Thursday, July 30, 2015

School board members voted unanimously July 7 to suspend the driver’s education program, due to lack of funding included in the state’s continuing budget resolution.

Donna McNeil, director of career and technical education, told the board the General Assembly’s budget resolution through Aug. 14 provides no funding for the state-mandated driver’s education program and no provision allowing school systems to charge more than the $65 fee that was charged last year.

She said the actual cost per student for the program is about $300 and offering the course to additional students (beyond students already enrolled) would require the use of local funds allocated to other programs.

Students who would be eligible to begin the classroom portion of the training this year have the option of either waiting until they are 18, at which time they can apply for a license without any training, or using a private driving school. McNeil said she contacted private driving schools in Clemmons, Winston-Salem, Salisbury and Yadkin County, and fees for the classroom portion range from $65 to $85, and for the behind-the-wheel training, costs range from $200 to $350.

There are no private driving schools in Davie County, she said.

Letters will be sent to parents of students who would have been in the program this year with information about driving schools.

Behind-the-wheel training will continue to be provided to students who completed the classroom instruction during the 2014-15 school year. The General Assembly is debating whether or not to even require a driver training course to be eligible for a North Carolina driver’s license, said Superintendent Dr. Darrin Hartness.

Board member Barbara Owens said, “It might be a way to cut the budget but it’s a scary cut.”