Driver's ed funding remains an issue in Wake County

Posted August 15, 2015

— While lawmakers drag their feet on a state budget, the issue of funding driver's education programs came to a head when a popular provider in Wake County announced Saturday that classes were suspended - and then took the statement back.

"Driver Education in Wake County has been SUSPENDED as of Monday, August 17, 2015 and in accordance to instruction from Wake County Schools," Jordan Driving School posted on its website.

"Because the North Carolina budget for the 2015-2016 year has not been agreed upon, there is no established funding for Driver Education at this time. Until a decision is made by North Carolina legislators, no more Driver Education may be taught."

But by about 8 p.m., the statement was removed from the company's website. In a statement sent to WRAL News, the message was posted in error by a website contractor, according to Lorraine Jordan, president of Jordan Driving School.

Last summer, state lawmakers passed legislation to eliminate the $26 million that funds the program when the fiscal year ended on June 30, leaving school districts to find other means to cover program costs.

Jordan Driving School estimated that 135,000 students across the state would feel the pinch of higher fees.

After budget negotiations on Friday, Transportation budget writer Rep. John Torbett, R-Gaston, said House members had found money for driver's education elsewhere in the budget. But, he said, the Senate version of the budget proposal still would do away with it altogether.

Devin Tanner, who oversees the driver’s ed program for Wake County Public schools, said the district would have to find about $2.5 million for the 2015-2016 school year to run the program without state funds.

According to WCPSS spokeswoman Lisa Luten, a decision to suspend driver's ed has not been made. The board plans to discuss the budget on Tuesday.


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  • Cindy Traver Aug 16, 2015
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    Wayne Boyd, students under the age of 18 are still issued learner permits but only after having taken a class and must have a permit for one full year before they can get a graduated license. At the age of 18 they do not need a learners permit or proof of having taken a professional class. You ask about proof that shows it is making students safer, the issue here is you won't see that proof until drivers ed is taken away and you have thousands of 18 year olds getting licenses without training. As long as they can pass the written and extremely quick behind the wheel test they get a license. The class is going to be too expensive for low income and alot of middle income families to pay for. If anything I think the state is going in the wrong direction and should make it a class during school hours. Take away an elective course and give the students even more training. We have too many teen deaths due to car accidents as it is.

  • Norman Lewis Aug 15, 2015
    user avatar

    As an answer to the previous poster, only on a divided highway with a median strip and/or an impassable to pedestrians divider, and I am NOT a driving instructor. Sometimes kids listen to strangers more so than their parents so having an instructor is a benefit in that respect but generations of children learned to drive without "official" oversight. This is likely a not so subtle implication, that if the budget is not passed soon, and without close examination, the "benefit" may be withdrawn.

  • Brian Hill Aug 15, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    No need to use Google.

    NCGS § 20-217(c)
    Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, the driver of a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction from the school bus, upon any road, highway or city street that has been divided into two roadways, so constructed as to separate vehicular traffic between the two roadways by an intervening space (including a center lane for left turns if the roadway consists of at least four more lanes) or by a physical barrier, need not stop upon meeting and passing any school bus that has stopped in the roadway across the dividing space or physical barrier.

  • Mike Rodgers Aug 15, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I have a question, and you CANNOT use Google to answer it. When is it acceptable to pass a stopped school bus that has its lights on and the arm extended? Do you know the answer? A driving school instructor would. You think every parent out there, teaching their kid to drive, would?
    Reminds me of the article about a woman decrying teaching sex ed in school, said she should be the only one teaching her kids. The interviewer asked her what she would say about some obscure, but growing (no pun intended) rapidly, STD. She said "Well, I would just look it up." And my immediate thought was, how would you KNOW to look it up, IF YOU DIDN'T ALREADY KNOW ABOUT IT?!
    Same thing here, what don't parents know about the laws of driving - that their kids need to learn?

  • John Davis Aug 15, 2015
    user avatar

    What's the purpose? Really?? Teach young drivers the rules of the road & to help prepare young drivers as they take to the road. I have friends who are DE instructors & it's amazing how poorly many of these young drivers perform behind the wheel. The state has been part of this program at least back to the 1980's & I'll assure you it has been VERY productive in producing safer teen drivers. The goal of the NCGOP is to "privatize" this & many more programs for profit... Due to reduced funding from the NCGOP, many LEA's now require participants to foot $65 of the program. This eliminates large numbers from the program because of their family's economic condition. They are forced to either wait until their 18th birthday or they simply drive illegally without insurance thus endangering themselves &many others. It's simply another asinine idea to add to an already impressive list of ill conceived, poorly thought, ALEC & KOCH inspired legislation that has become the norm from Jone St.

  • Wayne Boyd Aug 15, 2015
    user avatar

    I never saw the purpose in it anyway. What's wrong with parents teaching kids to drive? Go back to issuing learners permits
    There isn't any proof that drivers education has produced safer teen drivers, if it has I haven't heard of it.