Funding for Driver’s Education Dropped in North Carolina

August 2015

By Mason Lipman

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Over the past several years, the North Carolina General Assembly has debated budget cuts involving driver’s education in public schools. Cuts would remove the $26 million that goes to schools throughout the state for driver’s education. This would result in all North Carolina public schools being forced to fund driver’s ed out of the $100 million that already goes to schools’ general funds.

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On June 30, the General Assembly decided to reallocate money that went toward driver’s education for public schools, and the funding was withdrawn.

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“It is in the interest of driver’s education schools such as Jordan Driving School to restore funding as soon as possible by contacting legislators from the North Carolina General Assembly,” said Tom Langdon, consultant of personnel at Jordan Driving School. “Driver’s education does save lives, and it is important. I urge people to call and talk with senators about restoring this funding.”

Jordan Driving School is the exclusive contract provider of driver education for Wake County Public Schools.

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At the moment, Jordan Driving School has more business than ever because parents of local teens want to get their kids trained before state funds already allocated to drivers’ ed in the schools disappear.

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Currently, the driving school is still working under contract with all schools they held contracts with in Wake County, including Wake Forest, Rolesville and Heritage high schools. August 14th will be the last day driver’s education classes will be held by Jordan Driving School, unless local funds from Wake County are used to subsidize driver’s education.

Without state funding, the cost of putting a child through driver’s education could rise from approximately $50 to between $300 and $350.

Last year the North Carolina General Assembly published a report titled “Performance Measurement and Monitoring Would Strengthen Accountability of North Carolina’s Driver Education Program” (Report Number 2014-02). The 55-page report detailed how the General Assembly did not believe that there was enough evidence to prove that driver’s education in the form it exists in North Carolina makes enough of a difference in driver safety and says further there was not enough regulation of driver’s education.

The report made four recommendations to reform the driver’s education program, including adopting “statewide performance measures to assess its effectiveness and efficiency,” to “develop and implement a system for monitoring the performance of student drivers completing driver education”, to “study the feasibility of offering uniform online classroom driver education,” and to “require state agencies and institutions initiating pilot projects at the direction of the legislature to adhere to standards established by the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”

No action has been taken on the recommendations.