MILTON — After more than a decade of partnership, Pete Moore Chevrolet will no longer supply vehicles for Santa Rosa County School District drivers’ education.

The reason has to do with the risk of students driving on public roads, according to the dealership.

The school district received notice May 1 of Pete Moore’s decision, according to Director of High Schools Jason Weeks. After looking for another dealership to provide cars for two weeks, the district placed an automated call to parents informing them the lab portion of drivers’ education would not be available. Students will still learn rules of the road, though.

“There are two different courses,” Weeks said. “One is the classroom portion, which involves a curriculum taught through text books or other resources still being offered. It’s the driving portion — which we call the lab — which is no longer being offered.”

Both the district and the dealership assure there is no animosity.

“We’ve been a big supporter of the Santa Rosa County Driver’s Ed program for well over a decade, so it really is a painful decision to make,” a statement from Pete Moore reads. “And, under the right conditions...we could continue. But as it stands now, it’s our understanding that these vehicles are not being driven on campus within a controlled environment. We sponsor the Escambia County Driver’s Ed program, too, but the difference is those vehicles are driven in a controlled environment, which greatly reduces liability.”

No other dealership is willing to lease vehicles to the district, according to Weeks. The only way to put students behind the wheel seems to be closed driving courses.

“There are no long-range plans to build ranges at this time, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be explored,” Weeks said. “The lab portion is one issue. The classroom (portion) will still be taught and it’ll be offered during the summer as well.”

Weeks started teaching drivers’ education in 1996 in Santa Rosa County.

“We had that partnership then,” Weeks said. “Santa Rosa County certainly appreciates the business and partnership we had with Pete Moore. They treated us very well. We have absolutely no complaints with the partnership with them.” 

“My office will continue to explore every opportunity to expand lab opportunities for our students. We certainly will welcome any feedback we can get from community members with resources they are aware of.”