Next month a North Carolina Department of Public Instruction committee will draft an initial report that will help determine which of the state’s three special-needs schools should be closed next year. State budget cuts mandate that by July of 2012, one of the schools for the hearing impaired or the state’s only school for the blind be eliminated in order to save $5 million.
Gary Farmer, the former dean of the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf in Wilson, says it’s a mistake to place any of the schools on the chopping block. He believes that shortsighted decision by the General Assembly will economically devastate these communities and harm the students served by the residential schools:
“They are getting ready to snatch the little island of hope that they’ve got left, and I don’t understand it,” said Farmer.
Wilson County’s elected officials and business leaders will gather today and again on Monday for strategy sessions intended to save ENCSD.
Farmer appears on News & Views this weekend to discuss the push to consolidate services for North Carolina’s blind and deaf students. For a preview of his radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon, click below.
DPI will make its final recommendations for closure to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by Jan. 15, 2012.