Arrow-right Camera

Eye On Boise

Idaho Deaf & Blind ed facing big enrollment increase, budget crunch

Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and Blind needs more instructors to help with a sharp increase in the number of students, the administrator says. Brian Darcy said about 1,400 students statewide participate, up from about 950 students five years ago. "You have to get to kids as early as you can," Darcy told The Times-News (http://bit.ly/yecOoX ). But Darcy said Gov. Butch Otter has recommended the annual $7.5 million budget remain about the same next year, and that will make it a challenge to provide services and attract qualified employees; click below for a full report from the Times-News and the Associated Press.

More students at state school for deaf, blind

GOODING, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and Blind needs more instructors to help with a sharp increase in the number of students, the administrator says.

Brian Darcy said about 1,400 students statewide participate, up from about 950 students five years ago.

"You have to get to kids as early as you can," Darcy told The Times-News (http://bit.ly/yecOoX ).

But Darcy said Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has recommended the annual $7.5 million budget remain about the same next year, and that will make it a challenge to provide services and attract qualified employees.

Darcy has asked for money to create two new positions at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind in Gooding and two new regional teaching positions. He also said the agency needs four new vehicles to replace others with high mileage. Last month he brought the proposal to the state Legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.

Darcy said helping children with visual and hearing impairments begins early, with teachers working at home with children up until age 3. Then there are regional preschool programs.

Some students enroll at traditional public schools, and the state agency helps public school districts with those students. The agency has about 117 employees statewide.

"We're really just a resource out there for teachers," Darcy said.

About 85 students attend the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind in Gooding, which has on-campus housing. The school uses iPads and interactive whiteboards to help students communicate. The iPads have video chatting features and a voice option that reads out loud.

The agency also offers parents sign language classes through the Idaho Education Network.

Darcy said some of the students in Gooding transition to a school district but sometimes end up coming back to the school in Gooding.

"Some of our kids are very academic," he said, but added they struggle with social skills.

___

Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com




You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Eye On Boise
Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

Follow Betsy online: