Driver's Education, waivers, nonpublic school students
Published June 2013
Every school district in Iowa must make a driver education course available to resident students (other than students who open enrolled out of the district). Iowa Code section 321.178 states, “Every public school district in Iowa shall offer or make available to all students residing in the school district or Iowa students attending a nonpublic school in the district an approved course in driver education. The receiving district shall be the school district responsible for making driver education available to a student participating in open enrollment under Iowa Code section 282.18.”
School districts have authority under Iowa Code section 282.6 to charge tuition and fees for the driver education course that the districts make available. A student who is eligible for a free lunch must be given the full waiver when the student takes the course made available by the district; a student who is eligible for reduced-price lunch must be given the partial waiver when the student takes the course. (Partial waiver should closely mirror the percentage reduction in the student’s price of a hot lunch.)
Nonpublic students may qualify for free or reduced-price lunch on the same basis as public school students. Those students may be required to demonstrate eligibility, and this may be by a letter from the nonpublic school or by filling out the appropriate application. Some students, public and nonpublic, apply for fee waiver eligibility for the first time for driver education. If these students qualify for a full or partial waiver, they must be allowed to submit a waiver for all fees going forward, but there is no obligation to return fees already collected.
Finally, a district that chooses to meet its obligation in Iowa Code section 321.178 to provide driver education by contracting with a third party must honor the full or partial waiver for eligible students. (FERPA now allows a district to share eligibility information with a third party provider if the district has a contract with the provider.) However, if a student declines to take a driver education course offered (directly or indirectly) by the student’s district and instead chooses to take driver education from an independent source, the student gives up any right to claim a fee waiver for driver education.