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Schools Cut Behind-the-Wheel Driver Training

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Glendale Board of Education voted Tuesday to suspend a major element of the district’s driver training program because of cuts in state funding.

Board members decided to retain the classroom portion of driver education, including lessons in a driving simulation machine. But they accepted a staff recommendation to cut behind-the-wheel training, which would cost the district $67,500. Students would have to pay for that portion of the instruction, which youths between ages 16 and 18 must have to obtain a driver’s license in California.

State funds designated for such training were vetoed by Gov. George Deukmejian in late July. Two bills pending in the Legislature may restore the money.

“I feel there is going to be a hardship on parents, but I also feel that we have no choice,” board member Charles Whitesell said.

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Six hours of private instruction, the minimum required for a license, runs from $120 to $180 per student. Last year, more than 700 students between 16 and 18 received district-sponsored road training, said James Gibson, administrator of secondary education.

Until now, the state has provided about $146,000 to the district for both classroom and behind-the-wheel training. Continuing to offer classroom instruction will cost about $30,000, which includes final payment for three simulators, Gibson said.

Gibson and other officials said they are considering several ways to reduce the effect on students.


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