Friday, March 13, 2009

Washington State School Services

The Washington State Center for Childhood Deafness and Hearing Loss could soon be the new name of the Washington School for the Deaf. Some state lawmakers have pushed for closing both the School for the Deaf and the Washington State School for the Blind. But the state House unanimously passed a bill this week that would make the deaf school’s Vancouver campus the headquarters for deaf services for all 39 counties in the state. The residential facility connected with the school would continue without change. Current superintendent Rick Hauan would become the School for the director.

If the plan goes forward, the state will eventually have two districts in which deaf and hard-of-hearing students are served: One in Vancouver and one in Eastern Washington. Right now, there are services offered in Spokane, Pullman, Wenatchee and Seattle. Vancouver has an enrollment of more than 100 and nearly 170 are helped around the state through video. But there’s many more who are not reached this way. A study just a couple of years ago showed more than 80% of Washington’s 472 deaf students and 98% of 933 hard-of-hearing students were attending local schools.