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Wake County familes scrambling to find driver's ed courses for young drivers

Posted August 19, 2015

Many families are now scrambling to enroll their teenagers in driver’s education courses after the Wake County school board announced Tuesday that it would suspend its programs at the end of the week.

With limited options available, many families are turning to private driving schools—and spending more money—to make sure their children are safe on the road.

The suspension stems from a budget dispute over $26 million in state funding for driver’s education programs, which has left all driver’s education programs at schools without funding.

The decision has forced nearly half of all districts in the state, including Wake, Cumberland, Orange and Guilford, to suspend their driver’s education programs.

Mickey Tripp, who spends nearly eight hours a day as a driving instructor for Carolina Road Driving School, may start spending even more time with young drivers.

“We may come up with some after school plans,” Tripp said. “But even with that, it's not going to be enough. You're talking 15,000 people in Wake County.”

Tripp said the driving school received 32 voicemails overnight and that registration has doubled in the last 24 hours.

“I'd be panicked if I couldn't get my kid into driver’s education because of fact number one, they're shutting it down in Wake County,” Tripp said. “Number two, they go to a private school and the private school is completely booked.”

Driving school officials and instructors said families should pursue looking into credible private schools for driving instructional classes.

8 Comments

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  • George Herbert Aug 20, 2015
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    Driving may be a privilege, but bad drivers endanger everyone. Perhaps the kids learn to be marginally better drivers than they would be otherwise by having the classes and receiving behind-the-wheel experience before getting their permits and licenses.

  • Chris Hall Aug 20, 2015
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    I do not understand why funding of DE was a problem until 2010. Before that individual taxes were LOWER and this program was fully funded. We are getting LESS for MORE under our new "fiscally responsible" leadership....

  • Fred Kozlof Aug 20, 2015
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    Dan, your comment does not belong here, because you are offering a much too logical and sensible solution :)
    I don't understand why tax dollars pay for DE to start with. Driving is a privilege, not a right. If you don't have the money for DE, then you likely don't have the money to buy and properly maintain and insure a car either.

  • Dan May Aug 20, 2015
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    Why can't the public schools offer DE as an optional fee based off budget service? The parents or enrollees would pay the full cost. If they had done that there wouldn't be a budget to be cut.

  • Sherrill Craig Aug 20, 2015
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    Lisa, in NC they must take a Driver's Education course.

  • H.D. Derrington Aug 19, 2015
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    Yeah, Jack that is the law. Educate yourself before you post, please.

  • Todd Smith Aug 19, 2015
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    JACK Lamb - learn the rules before you judge. If a teen less than 18 wants to drive they have to complete a driver's ed course.

  • Jack Lamb Aug 19, 2015
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    T E A C H them yourself! Stop depending on the regime to do your work!