Governor indicators invoice to overtake oversight of Louisiana Faculty for the Deaf, Visually Impaired | Training

Governor John Bel Edwards has signed a bill that will reorganize the special education district that includes the Louisiana School for the Deaf and the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired in Baton Rouge.

The measure, House Bill 253, cleared the Senate 37-0 and the House 100-0.

It was sponsored by Rep. Scott McKnight, R-Baton Rouge and Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell.

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The bill establishes a 12-person board of directors to oversee the district’s affairs, including submitting an annual budget and selecting a superintendent.

The governor will appoint 11 out of 12 members who must be approved by the state Senate.

The president of the state committee for elementary and secondary education appoints a board member.

In the current configuration, the special school district is financed mainly through the general fund and some self-generated income.

“Right now, the way it works is that they are juggling two different budgets,” said Hewitt.

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“And so it’s very incoherent. This will be such a better organizational structure to support the needs of these students.”

“This legislation puts student success at the heart of where it belongs,” she said.

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Beginning in the 2022-23 school year, the special education district’s classroom will be funded by the same $ 3.9 billion fund that finances public schools nationwide, the Minimum Foundation Program.

Supporters said the district will benefit from an independent identity.

“Partnering with this body will benefit our fellows and I envision great things as we continue to provide them with limitless education,” SSD Superintendent Ernest E. Garrett III said in a statement.

The special education district has an annual operating budget of approximately $ 33 million.

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A total of 553 students are enrolled at the Louisiana School for the Deaf and the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired, including 172 who live on the Baton Rouge campuses of both schools.

The district also offers educational services to an additional 538 students, including websites operated by the Office of Juvenile Justice, the Louisiana Department of Corrections, and the Louisiana Department of Health.

The revision is based on a study commissioned by BESE in 2017.

That review concluded that the special education district would benefit from having a board dedicated to its oversight, as well as a long-term plan and source of funding.

The bill was supported by BESE, the Governor’s Council on Disability Affairs, and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools.

The special school district was approved by the legislature in 1977.

State schools for the deaf and visually impaired in Baton Rouge date back to the mid-19th century.


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