An expanded statewide system that offers educational services for Iowa’s blind and deaf students at five regional sites, including on existing campuses in Vinton and Council Bluffs, is the model a study committee will recommend to the state Board of Regents.
That recommendation comes with an added cost of about $3.2 million beyond what is spent now serving those two populations, said Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs and head of the statewide Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, based in Vinton. However, he said, that expected cost would be shared by various entities, including area education agencies, local school districts and state funding through the regents.
The feasibility and planning study committee selected the model during a meeting Monday after a monthslong process that included six committee meetings and three public forums.
The statewide system for students who are blind and visually impaired serves about 500 students, while about 1,500 students who are deaf or hard of hearing are served statewide, including about 100 on the Council Bluffs campus of the deaf school. But test scores show students in both populations are not performing as well as they should be, and officials worry that the services, especially in rural areas, are not meeting needs.