Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, IA.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006.
OTTUMWA (AP) --- A task force studying the future of Iowa's only school for the blind is recommending a smaller and leaner school.
Under a draft proposal, the group told the Iowa Board of Regents on Monday that the Iowa Braille and Sight-Saving School should stay in Vinton, with consolidated programs serving targeted students on campus.
The school could consolidate into two buildings so the state can lease the other three, said Jeananne Schild, the school's interim superintendent.
The state spends nearly $7 million to educate Iowa's blind and visually impaired students; about $4 million goes to Iowa Braille.
Money saved through the recommended consolidation and some layoffs would be spent to beef up academics on campus and programs for the visually impaired children who do not attend the Vinton school, Schild said.
"We believe these actions would be a first step in addressing questions of effectiveness and efficiency," she said.
The fate of the 154-year-old school has been a topic of debate for several months. Regents President Michael Gartner said he gets more e-mails and calls about the Braille and Sight Saving School than any other issue.
About 30 students live at the school, which also serves more than 500 students in public schools across the state.
The regents told Schild to return with a formal proposal in June.
End of article.
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