Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Supporters Fight to Restore Funds for School for Deaf

Lawmakers are vowing to save the Scranton State School for the Deaf (SSSD), and a grassroots effort to win back funding has taken shape.
But the Rendell Administration insists eliminating 7.3 million dollars for the institution is the right thing to do.
In the days after Governor Rendell announced the suggested closure of the school, advocates put together a website-www.sssdsos.org. One of the group's organizers is Melodie Newhardt Kirk, whose daughter attends the institution. Kirk says they've collected 34-thousand signatures, and aren't done yet.

"We have gone to the parents' association. We have gone to the students, the family members, to write letters to legislators. I took petitions to my employment, I've had parents take petitions everywhere you go."

Rendell's budget cuts 7.3 million dollars in funding, but allocates 5.5 million to help students transition and find educational alternatives.
Scranton Democratic State Representative Kevin Murphy suggests using that money to run the school for one more year, while a study determines whether closing SSSD is the best decision.
But Department of Education spokesman Michael Race says the state simply shouldn't be footing the bill for the operation when better alternatives exist.

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