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Driver's Ed Courses Could Rise Under Senate Budget Plan

Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

Teenagers and their families may have to shell out more for driver's education courses if a Senate plan to cut funding for that program goes through. 

Students can take driver's education courses through their school districts.  They just have to pay $55 for 30 hours in the classroom and six hours on the road.

“We want kids who have real experience driving on the roads,” says Ben Matthews with the Department of Public Instruction.

The course actually costs a lot more.  The state subsidizes it to the tune of about $250 per student.  The Senate’s budget would cut all that money for 2016.  But families could feel the impact this summer.  That’s because the Senate’s plan shifts driver's education money into the school bus transportation fund.  Senators want to cut bus transportation by 6 percent.  They’ve told NC DPI officials, they can offset that cut by using the driver's education money.

Matthews says that would mean a tough choice for districts. 

“The bottom line here is if this is done the LEAs are going to take a hit.  They’re either going to have to reduce further their yellow school bus transportation or they’re going to have to reduce their driver's ed,” says Matthews.

The House plan would leave money for driver's education intact.