Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Urgent: Concerning Idaho School f/t Deaf & Blind.

Subject: New Legislation to Close ISDB By July 1, 2008
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006
From: Maynard, Wes J. - Council for Deaf and Hard of Hearing -
To: Anyone Interested in Deaf/HOH Education

Three legislators have written a Bill to close ISDB by July 1, 2008 and mainstream all the students into regional day programs. The legislators behind the Bill are Representatives Henbest, Skippen, and Senator Lodge. It is called House Bill 821. See for the full print of the Bill.

The Bill goes up for debate in the House Education Committee next Tuesday, the 21st at 8:00 a.m. in the Gold Room on the 4th floor of the Capitol building.

This Bill is a surprise to many people because the State Board of Education has been planning to appoint a Work Group of experts to explore issues regarding deaf and hard of hearing education, and to work with those experts to make sure they address all the details. However, individual legislators have the ability to introduce any Bill they want at any time during the legislative session.

This is why it is important that you come and testify to make your views known. Any citizen is allowed to come and testify next Tuesday. Whether you agree or disagree with it, the legislature won't know unless you tell them your opinions.

The Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is currently forming an official position on this issue and I will be testifying on Tuesday.

This is a Summary of What the Bill Says:

1. To be in full force and effect on July 1, 2008.

2. Close the school in Gooding and sell the property.

3. Mainstream all the students to five non-residential regional day programs within these areas: (1) Kootenai or Bonner County; (2) Nez Perce or Latah County; (3) Ada or Canyon County; (4) Twin Falls, Gooding, Jerome, Minidoka or Cassia County; (5) Bingham County.

4. Each of these five regions would have a "host" school district that would coordinate services and transportation with surrounding school distrcits.

5. The State Department of Education would annually distribute to the districts $50,000 per student, based on average daily attendance.

6. The educational services to be offered at each of these programs for deaf/hoh students would include, but are not limited to:

-auditory/oral program for pre-kindergarten through 1st grade
-a sign language based program for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade
-speech and language therapy services

7. The State would maintain a small Administrative agency in Boise to coordinate with and consult local districts on deaf/hoh educational issues. It would be called the "Division of Deaf and Blind Education" instead of ISDB. The Outreach program would report to this new agency, not the local school districts.



Wes Maynard, MBA, CI/CT
Executive Director
Council for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
1720 Westgate Drive, Suite A
Boise, ID 83704
208.334.0879 voice/videophone
208.334.0952 fax
208.334.0803 tty

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