July 11, 2014

Free Driver Education Continues

Senior Counsel Dee Black answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Delaware. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

With the governor’s signature on Senate Bill 255 on July 1, 2014, Delaware passed appropriations legislation for the 2015 fiscal year, including a provision guaranteeing that homeschoolers will continue to receive free driver education.

A little history is in order. Prior to enactment of the budget bill for fiscal year 2012, the Delaware Administrative Code contained a provision that private and homeschool students were required to pay for driver education, whereas public school students were entitled to free driver education one time only. When the legislature approved the budget for 2012, it stated that private and homeschool students were not to be charged tuition for the driver education initial offering, despite any provisions of the administrative code to the contrary. In response to this, in 2013 the department of education changed the administrative code to provide that private and homeschool students were to receive the same one-time free driver education as public school students. Additionally, each year since fiscal year 2012, the legislature has been including protective language in the budget bill to ensure that all nonpublic school students continue to receive driver education at no cost.

The law applicable to both public and nonpublic school students is that those who are unsuccessful in their initial driver education course may register in any of the adult driver education programs for a fee. Students with an active Individual Education Program (IEP) retaking the driver education course because of failing the initial course are not required to pay a fee for retaking the course. The initial offering for driver education is for students in the 10th grade, although this may be delayed until the 11th or 12th grade for special needs students.

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