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School for Deaf and Blind Wants Funding to Be Increased

By Julie Wooton
summarized by Alyssa Smith, staff writer

The Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind (ISDB) hopes to hire more teachers as attendance and waiting lists for elementary school programs continue to increase. In 2007, 59 students were enrolled at the Gooding campus; now 86 students attend. Brian Darcy, ISDB administrator, also points out that more students are receiving outreach services than in previous years. Yet, new teaching positions have not been added.

The school’s budget request, which they will present in February, asks for enough funding to add such teaching positions. Administrators would like to hire two new outreach teachers and two new teachers to the Gooding campus. These new positions would likely be for elementary teachers who are qualified to work with both blind and visually-impaired children as well as deaf and hard-of-hearing children. The budget request also includes an increase in pay for outreach and campus educators. Unlike with a public school, ISDB does not receive state funding nor does it have the option of a supplemental levy.

Of the seventeen teachers working at the Gooding campus, none of them specialize in things like physical education or music. Therefore, if an elementary school teacher chooses to pick up the slack and teach physical education, he or she must work through his or her planning time. Darcy is aware of the sacrifices teachers are making, which can make it difficult to both recruit and retain teachers. Darcy also notes that fewer special education teachers who are qualified to work in education for the deaf or blind are coming out of college.

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