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Archive for Monday, December 1, 2008

Driver’s ed funding takes back seat in tight budget

State steers money away from schools, into general fund

December 1, 2008

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— The Lawrence school district, like many across the state, is trying to figure out what to do about a substantial funding cut in its driver’s education program.

“We are going to have to increase fees, get extra support from the district or not continue,” said Patrick Kelly, who is in charge of driver’s education in the Lawrence district.

The problem is that earlier this year, the Kansas Legislature and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius approved a state budget that essentially raided a state safety fund that is paid for with a percentage of all driver’s license fees.

Money from that safety fund goes to help driver’s education programs. But the new budget included a little-known proviso that took $1.7 million and placed it in the state’s general fund to pay for various services.

Bottom line: School districts were previously getting $108 per student reimbursement for driver’s ed, but for the past summer’s program, the districts received only $38 per student.

“This was the first year it hit home,” said Kansas Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis. “They (school districts) got their first checks the first of November.”

Kelly said nearly 280 Lawrence students took driver’s ed last summer. The district is now facing a shortfall of approximately $20,000.

Now officials are trying to figure out how to pay for that.

Kelly said he hopes the district can continue offering driver’s education because it provides valuable training and instruction.

“We’d like to keep our streets safe,” he said.

Currently, the cost to a student to take driver’s ed is $120.

Comments

gccs14r 6 years ago

They could make students pay for proper instruction, to include nighttime and inclement weather driving, so that they're actually decent technical (but still inexperienced) drivers when they finally take to the streets. If it cost $1000 to get that first license, maybe then kids would both appreciate the privilege and be less inclined to rush into it. Listening to some coach drone for a few hours, watching a film, and driving for 15 minutes a dozen times in good weather is not proper instruction. Having the parents teach them is often worse. Let's fix the system by removing driver's ed from the schools and replacing it with private State-certified driving instruction.

mom_of_three 6 years ago

When I was in school, driver's ed was in the summer for all students. I started in a large school and then transferred to a small one. Considering there are approximately 900-1000 students in Lawrence who were eligible to take driver's ed for the first time, and only 248 were able to, that might be part of the problem.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years ago

No worries, the kids are all going to use the T in the People's Republic of Heckler.

Curtis Lange 6 years ago

Great, many drivers already suck at driving...now we're going to have another generation of crappy drivers. The driving system in this country needs a serious overhaul. Make it like many countries in Europe where driver training is mandatory and it comes out of pocket. Can't pay to be properly trained? Well, guess you won't be getting a license then.

webmocker 6 years ago

$70 is an absurdly low price to pay to prepare to be licensed. If a person cannot pay $70 for driver's education, then that same person simply cannot afford to drive. $70 pays for about 5 tanks of gas, or just a couple four months ago (in a smaller car.) Never mind insurance, cost of car, repairs, etc.

webmocker 6 years ago

Yes, $70 extra, on top of the $120 they already pay.Still absurdly low.

rdave13 6 years ago

To me the most disturbing thing about this is the following, which I hope does not give our city leaders any ideas on the new taxes that just passed:"The problem is that earlier this year, the Kansas Legislature and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius approved a state budget that essentially raided a state safety fund that is paid for with a percentage of all driver’s license fees.Money from that safety fund goes to help driver’s education programs. But the new budget included a little-known proviso that took $1.7 million and placed it in the state’s general fund to pay for various services."

May Soo 6 years ago

Currently, the cost to a student to take driver’s ed is $120.------------It costed me $100 to take the driver's ed class in 1988 at Lawrence High School. Either I was being over charged or they need to increased the fee.

nut_case 6 years ago

themiddlechild (Anonymous) says… "It costed me $100 to take the driver's ed class in 1988 at Lawrence High School. Either I was being over charged or they need to increased the fee."- Seems like the money might have been better spent on English / grammar lessons.As I understand it, the money was collected from license fees under the banner of "Safety", then a loophole was used to put that money into general funds, now they want more money for drivers ed? Pffff....yeah, right!How about we go back to drivers ed the way I had it...about a week before the test, my parents explained, "Well, you've been a passenger for 15 years do you want to try the driving part?"I replied, "Sure" and a few minutes later, we were out on a back country road. They let me take the wheel for a while, then it was off to take the test. No big production about it, no summer class, no $100 fees. If I wanted to drive, I had to learn the rules and operation on my own.

KU_cynic 6 years ago

In Kansas is driver's ed mandatory for drivers of a certain age to get a license? In my home state passing state-approved driver's ed. was required to get a license under the age of 18. If that's not the case here then I don't see why the school district should necessarily be in the business of providing driver's ed.

Thinking_Out_Loud 6 years ago

KU_cynic wrote "I don't see why the school district should necessarily be in the business of providing driver's ed...."It's not a business. It's an educational service. That's kind of like writing "If you can go to a museum, I don't see why the school district should necessarily be in the business of teaching history."

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