NC Schools For Blind And Deaf Grapple With Budget

There are tough choices ahead for three North Carolina schools whose mission is to educate blind or deaf students.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that a plan is in the works that could mean closing one of the so-called "residential schools."

A school for the blind operates in Raleigh, while two schools for the deaf are in Morganton and Wilson. All together, they have about 220 students.

But state budget cutbacks mean one of those schools may be closed, saving about $5 million a year.

The state Department of Public Instruction is preparing a plan this fall, which will go to a legislative committee in January.

Tom Winton of the education department says there will be plenty of opportunity for public comment on the proposal.


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  • by Anonymous on Sep 6, 2011 at 12:47 AM
    These children are not "institutionalized". How about reading facts before you state something that is obviously just not appropriate! These children are given skills to live and work for themselves. Not rely on someone to take care of them.... How do we not give them the choice of going to a school that teaches them their life skills along with educate them and prepare them for college as your public schools prepare every child.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 6, 2011 at 12:39 AM
    Have you ever thought about how much it Would cost to intergrate these students into public schools with no special needs teacher/materials to teach them... Maybe you need to consider that? How dumb can you people really be. It would cost the state ALOT more money to set up every school district with blind/deaf kids that would go to the school in their county with a teacher and materials that they would need. Don't disabled people have the RIGHT to be properly educated just as your "regular" student? JOHN?
    • reply
      by Frank on Sep 11, 2011 at 11:46 AM in reply to
      From my personal, professional experience as an educator of the Deaf, all public schools have special needs teachers in place. Let's look at this realistically: what is the % of these Blind/d/Deaf students who are in the state schools (of which this article is about) who go on to college or technical school. What is the % of those kids who go on to receive SSI or other welfare benefits? What is the success rate that these state schools have? If the record is dismal, and it appears to be so, then why would anyone support them, outside of ignorance. Of course these kids deserve to be properly educated. That's really what's at the heart of this issue as far as I'm concerned. The state schools are not doing an adequate job of this. Deaf education must be reformed, and not only at these state schools, but in the public schools as well. Deaf education has a proven track record of mass failure. That is not acceptable. That needs to change. We need not waste money on what does not work, but spend that money wisely and redirect it into what is a better use of that money for everyone concerned. Most importantly, those Blind/d/Deaf students who will one day be adults.
  • by John on Aug 22, 2011 at 09:14 PM
    I don't know how public schools here are, but back home we had special needs students in our public schools. I grew up with special needs students (blind, deaf, paralyzed) in elemtary school, and I believe in middle school. In high school we had a special building for them on campus. They had full time special education teachers and volunteers. We didn't have separate schools for them. There was one in the city down the road but it was state run and eventually closed down. Don't see why integration isn't an option. Unless people are afraid of special needs students being around "regular" students.
    • reply
      by Frank on Aug 23, 2011 at 06:54 PM in reply to John
      I agree with John. Plus the kids should be with their families. Also, institutionalizing people because they have "special" needs is an arcane, ancient pre-21st Century mindset and concept. It's proven to be ineffective in the case of the population we're discussing, and a massive failure. Don't perpetuate failure because of "happy memories of school friends and life". School is not the majority of one's life!
  • by Tishie Location: Nash County on Aug 22, 2011 at 07:53 AM
    By closing the deaf and blind schools is simply not acceptable. Not only are these children deaf and blind they also have other disabilities that would simply be impossible for the "regular" schools to handle. These are residential schools that serve large areas of the state and do it very well. How much do you think it will cost to have personal interpreters for each of the 220 students placed in classrooms? I grant it will be more than 5 million dollars in the long run. These students are not coddled, but given an opportunity to learn and be a productive citizen. By subjecting them to some of you people who do not know what you are talking about would be the meanest type of bullying that I know of.
    • reply
      by Frank on Aug 22, 2011 at 08:23 AM in reply to Tishie
      Tishie, would it cost more than $5 million per year for interpreters? The D/deaf/blind schools have proven to be failures, so why fund failure? Yes, some of these kids have other disabilities, and I would say that public schools have programs to deal with those issues. I happen to know what I'm talking about, as I've worked in both public and D/deaf schools, have many D/deaf friends, and so, do in fact know what I'm talking about. If the quality of education for the D/deaf is poor, shouldn't we be talking about how to reform it and improve it. Throwing more money into a system that has long been broken won't fix the problem. As a side note, the average cost per interpreter would be in the range of $25,000 per year in a NC public school. While there are 220 students in the Deaf/Blind schools in NC, not all 220 are D/deaf. What is the exact number? I do not know. Find it and multiply it by $25,000 and you have your annual cost. It is not to be multiplied by 220 as that is not the correct number of Deaf students. Many school districts already have staff interpreters, so it would not require every district who has a Deaf child attending the public schools to hire new interpreters. What's best for the kids is our interest, yours and mine.
  • by freebees wanted Location: Washighton DC on Aug 22, 2011 at 06:27 AM
    Look at the bright side.......we still have more at four....so if your blind and deaf and a welfare baby then your still ok.......what a joke our society has become
  • by Anonymous on Aug 21, 2011 at 08:06 PM
    I guess they want to save the 5 million to give to illegals and baby mama's. What a shame!
  • by Frank Location: Raleigh on Aug 21, 2011 at 08:00 PM
    I understand this issue, having family who are Deaf. Let's look at the $ issue: 3 schools, 220 students total. Close one school, save $5M. $5M X 3 = $15M. $15,000,000 divided by 220 students = $68,1818.81 spent on each student every year. What are the results, the quality of education these kids get? Are they really getting a good education, or just coddled? In my experience, the education they receive at these state run institutions is very poor. They can live at home with their families, attend their local school, quite possibly receive a higher quality education. The average cost of educating each student in a public school in North Carolina is $9000 per year. To spend $68,181.81 per student on a lackluster, very poor education in each of the 3 state run schools for the D/deaf/blind students is a poor use of money. Close all 3 schools. The money is better spent elsewhere, and the D/deaf/blind students will receive a better education, also.
  • by pete Location: grifton on Aug 21, 2011 at 06:06 PM
    But we can send 4 year old's to school to be take nap's and be cared for by baby sitters(school teachers)I almost forgot the free meals.
    • reply
      by Sam on Aug 22, 2011 at 09:04 PM in reply to pete
      Well some families have to have 2 parents working in this economy. My wife wants to stay home but we can't afford for her two and we have 2 kids. My wife is a certified teacher but on my income we can't make it so we have no choice but for our kids to go to school.
  • by Concerned! on Aug 21, 2011 at 04:02 PM
    Is the state trying to stop all funding for our deaf and blind? God forbid if they are deafblind? If thats the case then there are NO services for those individuals. This is truly concerning! My sister is deafblind and over the age of 30. The state expects us to put her in a nursing home where she will have no communication whatsover! How about those human rights!?!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Aug 21, 2011 at 05:12 PM in reply to Concerned!
      The RepubliCAN'Ts don't believe anyome is human unless it's them. As an independent, I am appalled by the arrogance they have shown. I am not impressed by them.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Aug 21, 2011 at 10:49 PM in reply to
        The DemocRATS are no better. It's called 21st century politics and we are just slaves of the state. Ron Paul 2012!
    • reply
      by Frank on Aug 21, 2011 at 08:06 PM in reply to Concerned!
      It didn't say the state was trying to stop ALL funding for our deaf and blind. They won't do that. I don't know your situation, but instead of letting "the state" put your sister in a nursing home, why don't you or your family let her live with you or another family member? As for your comment, "she will have no communication whatsoever!", do you use sign language to communicate with her, or did you never get around to learning it? Just asking, as I've noticed that most families who have deaf relatives do not know how to communicate with them, because they were just too lazy to learn how.
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