Archive for Monday, August 17, 2009

Commission wants to locate schools for blind and deaf on same campus to save money

State considers cost savings of ‘co-locating’ the two operations

August 17, 2009, 1:40 p.m. Updated August 17, 2009, 3:54 p.m.


— A state commission looking for ways to save money has rejected the idea of closing either the school for the blind or the school for the deaf, but wants to put the separate schools on the same campus.

“We are not advising closing either the school for the blind or the school for the deaf,” Rochelle Chronister, chairwoman of the Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission, said Monday.

But commission members were almost unanimous in wanting to explore the possibility of moving the Kansas State School for the Blind, which is currently in Kansas City, Kan., to the campus of the Kansas State School for the Deaf, which is in Olathe.

Commission members said “co-locating” the two schools could reduce operating costs, although they maintained that the two school populations would remain separated to provide the special instruction tailored to each group.

The commission will make its final recommendations to Gov. Mark Parkinson in December. The panel was formed to try to find ways to increase efficiencies as the state faces a budget shortfall.

The school for the blind serves approximately 75 students on its campus, while the school for the deaf serves about 135 on its campus, according to state officials. Both schools have students who stay in dorms. In addition, both schools provide services to students in other parts of the state.

The commission said that because both schools were operating below capacity, putting the facilities on one campus would save money in areas such as food service and maintenance. Members of the commission also said they wanted to move a Topeka rehabilitation center for the blind to the school for the deaf campus.

But they also said that while long-term savings could be possible, there would be short-term expenses related to changing certain buildings to accommodate blind students.

Madeleine Burkindine, superintendent of the school for the blind, said some buildings on the school for the deaf campus could not be used by blind students because they are too close to busy streets.

And Education Commissioner Alexa Posny said building a new school for the blind could cost an estimated $25 million to $30 million.

Before the commission makes its final recommendation, Chronister said more information was needed from states that have put both their schools for the deaf and blind on the same campus. Of 45 states that have schools for the deaf and blind, nine campuses are co-located, Burkindine said.

An earlier version of this story contained incorrect numbers regarding enrollment for the two schools.


BigPrune 8 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Sharon Aikins 8 years, 9 months ago

Or maybe not so funny if you were blind or deaf. I see one comment was deleted. Doesn't anyone have any sensitivity or do I just not get it?

1moreopinion 8 years, 9 months ago

While in nursing school I had the opportunity to do clinicals for 3 days at the Kansas State School for the Blind in Kansas City. I think what they do is wonderful. I saw many things being done by the blind students that umbled and amazed me. The knowledge, love, concern, and abilty of the staff is wonderful.

I do not understand why someone would make a joke about the blind or the deaf.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 9 months ago

Gilchrist I just read your deleted post. I think the last sentence would apply to you. Bad taste there, buddy.

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