The Board of Regents gave approval Wednesday to the concept recommended for reorganizing the schools for the deaf and blind. Patrick Clancy, the Superintendent of the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs, told the board the idea is to create a regional system that will provide more access to services across the state.
“The committee considered what makes up quality programs, education services for the blind and for deaf in Iowa,” Clancy explained. “Looked at the population and the size of the population served and where they are at, invited in national input into the process. Contacted other service programs from other states to be able to get input. Examined outcomes of our strategic initiatives with both of the two special school programs.”
The preferred plan calls for five regional centers, keeping the School for the Deaf and the School for the Blind in Vinton as two of the centers. “It is really about that regional programs do serve an important purpose for the future in terms of meeting those preferred future documents, in terms of a continuum of services for the deaf and blind that is richer and more full than the service delivery that is currently in place in Iowa in terms of looking to the future,” Clancy says.
The move to regional centers is projected to eventually save $2.4-million once implemented. Clancy told the board they will know more once they work out the final details.
“What I am asking of you at this point is that more conceptual approval of what that feasibility and planning study committee advised and recommended,” Clancy says. “And then charging me — with a group of other people — to move forward working out the details and then come back to you with a more precise plan for you to consider if that is something that we can do or should do.”
The board gave Clancy the approval to move ahead with more concrete details. The regents asked Clancy to develop a proposal for a pilot program which will include one regional center at a location to be determined to help them understand the concept.
The proposal must describe the operation of the regional center, including the value of the site selected, financial implications, and the different funding sources available for the center. The board wants the proposal no later than September 2013 for potential implementation in the 2015 fiscal year.