Education

State to consolidate schools for blind and deaf

Posted November 21, 2011

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— The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction announced its plans Monday to close a school for the blind in Raleigh, but still keep the campus operational as a satellite to the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf in Wilson.

State Superintendent June Atkinson said that students will be minimally impacted by the change. It wasn't clear how staff would be affected.

The Governor Morehead School for the Blind's administration and programs will be consolidated with the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf, but visually impaired students who currently attend the Morehead school will be able to stay at the satellite campus in Raleigh, Atkinson said.

Three residential schools currently serve 220 disabled students in the state. State budget cuts mandated that, by July, one of the three schools had to close.

Gov. Bev Perdue called cuts to education in the Republican-backed budget "extreme, short-sighted and unnecessary" and accused state lawmakers of pitting deaf and blind children against each other in the fight to keep their schools open.

"North Carolina must find ways to reduce spending, but our future demands that we also make investments in our people," she said in a statement. "Our constitution guarantees a quality education for all, and that includes deaf and blind children."

Talk of closing or merging the schools to save money has arisen during budget shortfalls as far back as 2001, but so far, spirited support from students and families has helped keep them open. Last year, the schools cut costs by $1 million, including cutting pay, having students return later from weekends at home and dropping charter bus services.

Supporters for both schools, plus the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton, have argued that students should be able to stay where they are most comfortable and that many of them have other special needs and disabilities that made it difficult to have success in their local school districts.

14 Comments

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  • chattycat Nov 23, 2011

    Give me a break - $22 million for 3 campuses and 220 students!!! Tell me why this boon doggle shouldn't be cut - how many teachers and administrators have made a nice living for years off the tax payers back - why does it take 3 campuses and $22 million a year to educate 220 students? This is a no brainer of a cut, but just the tip of the iceburg. avidreader

    Great post, I could not agree more! What a huge waste of money this has been.

  • wildcat Nov 22, 2011

    That would be a great idea. Saving money is what its about.

  • Krimson Nov 22, 2011

    "why does it take 3 campuses and $22 million a year to educate 220 students?"

    b/c they are deaf/blind???

    Saving tax dollars doesn't trump our State Con nor does it trump the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  • Iconoclast Nov 22, 2011

    Don't forget that students live on campus (kind of difficult for a student to commute from say Manteo to Raleigh). Include room and board in your cost figures.

  • weasel2 Nov 22, 2011

    AVIDREADER based on your figures $100,000.00 is spent on each student in these schools. And the last figures for other students in the state was between $8000 and $10000 per annum. Quite a difference, obviously this is a very good starting point when having to trim fat from the budget.

  • Iconoclast Nov 22, 2011

    Okay, are they going to teach deaf children Braille or teach blind children American Sign Language. I've got an idea, let's consolidate the NC House and the NC Senate into the NC School for the Common Sense Impaired.

  • avidreader Nov 22, 2011

    Give me a break - $22 million for 3 campuses and 220 students!!! Tell me why this boon doggle shouldn't be cut - how many teachers and administrators have made a nice living for years off the tax payers back - why does it take 3 campuses and $22 million a year to educate 220 students? This is a no brainer of a cut, but just the tip of the iceburg.

  • 37 Nov 21, 2011

    I saw this coming.

  • nerdlywehunt Nov 21, 2011

    Good going tea partiers.......soon we won't have police, fire and rescue....after all that costs a LOT of money so let's get rid of 'em

  • chance Nov 21, 2011

    How can the students be minimally impacted when one was a school for the BLIND and the other was a school for the DEAF? They're not the same thing. I don't get it.

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