Kentucky State Police officials estimate it will cost them more than $100,000 annually to continue providing about 12,000 written driver's license tests in 22 foreign languages.
KSP spokesman Sgt. David Jude provided those estimates late Wednesday after Gov. Steve Beshear reversed the KSP's decision to offer written driver's license tests only in English starting June 1. The governor first learned about the change on Tuesday night and immediately canceled it.
The Herald-Leader had written about the policy change in a story that appeared Tuesday night on Bluegrass Politics, the newspaper's Web site for political news, and on the front page of Wednesday's newspaper.
Kentucky State Police Capt. Tim Lucas sent a memo May 7 to drivers testing branch employees about the change. He cited high costs of translating the written tests and said Tuesday the agency made the decision to change to an English-only test, in part, because of cuts to the agency's budget.
But KSP officials couldn't tell the Herald-Leader how much the move would save or how many tests were given in foreign languages until late Wednesday, after the governor's announcement.
Jude estimated 10,000 to 12,000 non-English driver's license tests were administered in 2008 in the north, central, west and far west regions of Kentucky.
Jude estimated that more than $100,000 would have been saved annually by the move to limit driver's license tests to English.
"This figure includes salaries, interpretive costs and printing costs for each of the tests," he said.
Jude said Kentucky State Police won't have to take extra measures to continue paying for the tests in foreign languages.
"The costs have been included in our previous budgets and will therefore also be included in future budgets," he said.
Beshear said Wednesday the decision to offer the written test only in English "did not reflect the values of this administration or the values that I think most Kentuckians share — as a state welcoming people to do business here."
In response, Jude said the KSP is "more than happy to comply with the governor's directive to continue our license testing as normal by providing professional service to all license applicants."