Friday, October 23, 2009

SPECIAL SCHOOLS: Iowa Deaf and Blind Schools face devastating budget cuts

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Iowa's three public universities and two special schools are still working on carving 10% out of their budgets. The Board of Regents will meet next week to trim nearly $60 million. The University of Iowa, Iowa State and UNI must come up with most of that money. The Iowa School for the Deaf and the Iowa Braille School are left to cover a combined $1.5 million.

The size of the cuts may be smaller, but Regents President David Miles say they are "truly devastating." While universities have alternate sources of funding, the special schools do not. "The recent cuts will strain their ability to maintain vital services to some of our most vulnerable young people," says Miles.

Herb Wilson's daughter attends ISD, the Iowa School for the Deaf . He says the decision to send her from Ankeny to Council Bluffs wasn't easy, but it's in her best interests both academically and socially. His concern now is how the state cuts will impact her education. "Obviously, I'm biased. I have a child going to school out there, but we want her to be successful as all parents want their kids to be successful," says Wilson.

ISD has 90 students living on campus. The school serves another 3300 across the state. The Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School has just over 400 students. All regent schools will present their cut proposals to the board next Thursday.