Now that officials with Clinton City Schools have a budget to work with, the status of the drivers education program is more concrete and the fee for the services has been lowered.
During a work session last Thursday night, Nan Barwick, interim finance director for the school system, proposed board members vote to change the fee for students who receive driving services and reimburse partial funds to parents who have paid for driver’s education since July 1, 2015. Members voted on the change during Monday night’s meeting.
As of July 1, the General Assembly made a decision to eliminate funding for the driver’s education program, leaving it up to the school systems or parents to fund. As a result of this change, Clinton City Schools was charging a $65 fee per student for the service.
In the system’s adopted budget, an allotment of $130 per child is available for driver’s education. Clinton City Schools has contracted service for $200 per student, leaving only a $30 gap parents should be responsible for.
“The gap has narrowed and we request the board reduces that fee,” Barwick said to board members.
Effectively immediately, Clinton City Schools will only charge $30 for driver’s education services. Parents who have paid the $65 fee since July 1 will be reimbursed the $35 difference.
Earlier this year, a bill was introduced in the North Carolina House of Representatives proposing options through a dedicated funding stream to maintain drivers educations as a mandatory requirement for all students, subsidizing the costs. Nicknamed the “Drivers Ed Bill,” House Bill 919 includes revenues from unclaimed lottery prize money for the 2015-16 fiscal year and late fees on motor vehicle registration.
Dr. Stuart Blount, superintendent of Clinton City Schools previously said he believes that funding should be provided for the program.
“I definitely agree that if the state is going to mandate that we still teach that course, any funding, whether it’s partial, as least some funding would be helpful,” Blount stated during an earlier interview. “That portion of funding would be a burden that we’ll have to observe somewhere else.”
Provisions for the program were discussed earlier in the year, including decreasing student charges from $65 to $45. It also included a comprehensive review of the state’s curriculum to comply with the national Novice Teen Driver Education and Training Administrative Standards. Legislators believed the subsequent revisions will ensure that instruction in drivers education is consistent with best practices and safety standards.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.