One of the regents’ schools that is enduring budget cuts is Iowa’s Braille and Sight-Saving School. Superintendent Dennis Thurman says they knew as long as a year ago that cuts would be coming, but didn’t anticipate how deep they’d be. There was a six-percent across-the-board cut by lawmakers, and then existing salary hikes and insurance increases built in earlier pushed that to an 8-percent cut. Thurman says forty fulltime students attend the school in Vinton, where services and supplies have been cut to the bone.He says maintenance, food service, clerical workers, travel and classroom teaching supplies have been cut. And the superintendent says teachers and services have been cut for off-campus programs that help another five hundred visually handicapped kids at public schools across the state.They’re consultants who go to classrooms and teach handicapped kids things like living skills. In this day of technology and talking computers, is there still a need for Iowa’s only school for the blind? Thurman says educating a blind child is still requires one-on-one attention with a knowledgeable teacher.Thurman told parents during class registration this weekend that the blind school couldn’t stand any more cuts in its state funding.
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