Sunday, March 07, 2010

Utah's Schools for the Deaf and the Blind face budget reductions

Utah's Schools for the Deaf and the Blind face budget reductions

OGDEN -- Utah's Schools for the Deaf and the Blind have been hit with a $670,000 budget reduction by the Legislature.

Kimberley Smale, public information officer for USDB, said of the 2,200 students served by the schools, approximately 150 attend the Ogden campus. She said none of those students should be impacted by the cuts.

"We are trying to keep all of the students' education from being impacted by this," she said. "It's heart-wrenching, though. We've been around since 1884 and it's hard to see this happening."

Smale said older students in the residential program will be able to continue until they graduate. However, some students 11 or younger will go through the program in their local schools or be taught in their own homes though USDB.

So far, Smale said no teachers have been released. However, summer camps and short-term programs will be eliminated.

"Nothing has been formally announced yet," she said. "We are trying to affect as few students as possible without touching any of their services. We do care about each of the kids and are not thrilled about these budget reductions but we're trying to follow through with the direction we've been given."

Smale said the school barely has enough money to provide services in good economic times. Handling the new cut, she said, is going to be very difficult.

"With the current economy, though, I guess we'll have to do our best," she said. "It's a big change for us."