Local News

Tab for driver's ed to slide to parents

Posted June 24, 2011

— Parents will pick up part of the cost of the teen drivers' education courses due to spending cuts in North Carolina's $19.7 billion budget that takes effect in July.

The new state budget cuts $8 million from driver's ed programs across the state. For example, Wake County will have $750,000 less to run a driver's ed program that cost $3.3 million last year.

To make up the difference, the state will allow school systems to charge a fee up to $45 to take the course.

"It will be very difficult for a lot of parents to pay for their children to go through driver's ed," said Angela Sampson, whose daughter will be old enough to take driver's ed this year.

Sampson said the free course benefited her niece, Deja, who got her license Friday.

"I think it was a great learning experience for her," Sampson said.

A fee could discourage low-income parents from putting their children in driver's ed, said William Powell, manager of Jordan Driving School which handles the program for Wake County.

"We're going to have a time trying to convince parents to take it because of the fee," Powell said.

Teens do have an alternative to taking driver's ed course: "Wait till they're 18 to get their (driver's) license," Powell said.

State law does not require those age 18 and older to take a driver's ed course.

Powell said that getting a license without going through a driver's ed program is dangerous.

"The experience of being in the car, being comfortable and able to control the vehicle is what they're going to miss out on," he said.

One of the major questions surrounding a fee is how it will be administered. Local school boards will have to decide whether the district or the contractor will collect the fee.

Wake schools spokesman Michael Evans said it's too soon to tell how this will affect families in the district. The school board will examine the budget and possible fees in the next few weeks.

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  • commonsence Jun 28, 2011

    so where does all the money go??? Schools take allot of money, and parents still have to pick up the tab??? Why should we have to pay to park? This is way out of control!!!

  • j12345m Jun 28, 2011

    In addition to paying for driver ed, I think parents should pay for their child to retake classes they fail. Why should the entire state be held accountable for a parent's lack of parenting in making sure their child does their homework and studies their subjects for school. I have taught driver ed and I teach high school math and I can say that I see it every year -- there is no accountability on the student or the parent for lack of doing anything. If a student fails, it must be the fault of the teacher. This is the message I continually get. When the student is failing multiple classes does that mean multiple teachers are at fault or is it the student's lack of doing anything that is to blame. I failed students in driver ed, which was almost unheard of. Why did I fail them? If they refused to read the handbook and could not pass the tests, why should I just "let it slide"? Do the rules not apply to them?

  • dlb800 Jun 27, 2011

    Comeon people... it's not like it's a lot of money in the first place. It's less than a tank of gasoline anymore.

    If you can't afford driver's ed.. then you can't afford gasoline or a car. You want your kid to drive, then pay for driver's ed.

    Also.. when you are 18, you still have to take the test. You want safer drivers? Make the penalties worse, and the testing harder.

    I remember when I got my motorcycle endorsement. Some intellectually challenged individual was at the DMV at the same time. It wasn't his first time taking the driver's test, and he was struggling... and in fact, I think he had failed it multiple times before, as he did this time too.

    I had just stopped in to get a Motorcycle Endorsement Handbook, figured since I was there, I might as well take the written test, and passed it without a problem (of course I did take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Beginner Riders Course).

    Let's also be honest...You can't fix stupid.

  • driverkid3 Jun 24, 2011

    Hater like Darth Vader:::And then when they get on the road completely uneducated at 18 they can cause a wreck.

    D.E. does NOT guarantee someone will be a safe driver. It just guarantees them a license at 16 or 17.

  • North Carolina Home Jun 24, 2011

    "Parents, it is time for us to get our priorities in order!!" cjspeaks

    No kidding!!!

  • myjudas Jun 24, 2011

    "I too, am so tired of everyone thinking things are OWED to them just because they breathe air."

    It's not about anyone being owed anything. There is no requirement to take a driver's ed course, as long as you can pass the tests. It is in our best interest, as a society, to encourage teens to take driver's ed. That's why we offer incentives like allowing teens to drive earlier, and that's why it's paid for by the government.

  • myjudas Jun 24, 2011

    If it had cost $45 to take driver's ed, I wouldn't have taken it, and just waited until I was 18 to get a license. It already costs $15 for each new permit before you're 18.

    But you know what else? I would have been driving anyway.

  • superman Jun 24, 2011

    If students or parents cant afford $45 how are they going to afford higher insurance and added expense for gas? Maybe the student can give up their cell phone. We all know they can afford that. People seem to be able to afford anything they want-- it is just a simple matter of deciding what they want and how to spend their money. Maybe I can try that excuse on Progress Energy-- just tell them I cant afford it and see what they do.

  • Scubagirl Jun 24, 2011

    Perhaps they should trade one pair of $100 tennis shoes for the class.

    I too, am so tired of everyone thinking things are OWED to them just because they breathe air.

  • Rebelyell55 Jun 24, 2011

    btneast,
    I took it in 1972 and we had to pay a fee. Don't remember how much it was, I'm thinking about 10 or 15 dollars. The class was taught by the school personnel, not contacted out. I think the fee covered the cost of car and gas. It had to be paid before you took the driving part of the class which usually was in summer.

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