With driver's ed halted, DOT urges caution on the road

Starting Friday, thousands of students in Wake County will be stuck in idle when the district suspends the driver's education program.

Only students who have already started the driving portion of the course will be allowed to finish.

Wake County Schools says the suspension comes as a result of funding uncertainty from the state legislature.

Read more: Wake County schools to suspend driver's education program

"I really don't have any sage advice for families other than patience. We've extended ourselves financially as far as we can, and just hopeful that that log jam gets resolved in the legislature soon enough and that somewhere in there is funding to support this so we can put it back in place," said WCPSS Superintendent Dr. Jim Merrill.

Jordan Driving School has started a "waiting list" of more than 3,000 stuck students, including Leesville High School student, Allie Mixon.

The teen started the WCPSS course in July but only completed the written portion of the course before the district decided to suspend classes.

It's now unclear how long she will have to wait to get behind the wheel.

"They have handled this very poorly," said WCPSS parent Amanda Mixon. "They scheduled classes when they knew there wasn't funding, then they ended the funding not realizing all these kids are caught in this donut hole of not being able to be behind the wheel and drive, and they've given us no options."

As students prepare to head back to class next week, driver safety is in the spotlight. State leaders are pushing lawmakers to strike a budget deal by the August 31 deadline.

"I think that young people being trained is an important priority," said NCDOT Secretary Nick Tennyson. "As legislative issues, it's right up there with the compensation, teachers assistants and drivers ed if you want to pick a big three for most of the school systems," said Merrill.

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