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Board Approves Driver's Education program

posted Jul 14, 2015, 10:16 AM by Valerie Newton   [ updated Jul 14, 2015, 10:55 AM ]

Elizabethtown, NC - The General Assembly approved a continuing budget resolution through August 14, 2015. No funds have been made available for driver education; however, school districts are required to offer noncredit driver education courses in high schools and are authorized to charge participants a fee of up to $65 and/or utilize other State or local funds for this purpose. This is referred to as an unfunded mandate.

Bladen County Schools administration and staff has determined the actual cost of driver education exceeds $300 per student. Offering the course to additional students without state funding would require the use of funds already allocated to other programs. 

Staff recommended, and the Board of Education approved at their July, 13th meeting, that Bladen County Schools will use a contracted vendor to provide Driver’s Education programming to Bladen County students.  The program will be offered beginning with the 2015-2016 school year with fall, spring, and summer classes.  Students will be required to pay a fee of $65 for the class, unless the General Assembly offers funding for students and sign-up will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students must be 14½ years of age and enrolled in school.

The General Assembly is currently debating whether or not to even require a driver training course to be eligible for a North Carolina Driver's License.

As reported by WUNC, Senate lawmakers say the millions of dollars they would save by eliminating funding for driver’s education would go toward building and improving roads. They also point to North Carolina's graduated license program as a way to ensure young people meet strict driving requirements while they gain more on-the-road experience.   

In the House's budget plan, lawmakers would continue to fund and require driver’s education. The two will need to reach a compromise as they craft a final budget. The Governor’s proposed budget, presented earlier this year, includes no funding for driver’s education.