Local News

Student Hoped For Smoother Ride To Pass Driver's Education

Posted December 19, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— One woman says her child took months to finish driver's education inWake County Schools, but it is not because he needed more instruction.

Sean Tola's most prized possession right now is his learner's permit.

"It took forever to get it. It took eight months," he says. "I'm just glad it's over."

Students must take driver's education classes to get a learner's permit. In Wake County, that service is supplied by Jordan Driving School.

"My expectation is that he would get through the program in two or three months," says Michele Tola, Sean's mother.

Sean signed up for driver's education in April. He got his permit two weeks ago. Bobby Gutherie, Wake County Schools' driver's education director, says twice as many students signed up for classroom training at Fuquay-Varina High was expected.

It meant a backlog getting those students on the road this fall. Sean's mother says no one at the school or from Jordan Driving School would admit there was any problem.

"Our experience was that the coordinator was non-responsive, and that is why it took Sean several months to get through that program," Michelle says.

A new coordinator is in place now at Fuquay-Varina High, and the school system is working on a new system to give students a smoother ride through driver's education.

"We knew we had some big numbers coming out, and we're trying to address that some," Gutherie says. "First, I think we have to communicate better -- Jordan Driving School and Wake County Public School system."

Among the school's new plans:

  • A brochure for eighth- and ninth-graders explaining the driver's education process.
  • Adding five more cars and more driving instructors.
  • A survey of parents and students to judge whether their questions are answered, and to find out if the schools meet their four-month course goals.