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August 3, 2004

Group looks at future of School for the Deaf

From: Grand Forks Herald, ND - Aug 3, 2004

Associated Press

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. - A group reviewing the State School for Deaf says the school - like others across the state - will have to find ways to deal with declining enrollment.

The School for the Deaf is expecting 31 students in preschool through grade 12 this fall, said state Rep. Gene Nicholas, R-Cando. The school's enrollment is projected to drop to 26 students by the 2007-2008 school year.

"With declining enrollments, school districts are going to have to work harder at maintaining their base, and we're going to be looking at mergers," Nicholas said. "It may be at some time, the School for the Deaf will be merged or integrated in with another entity."

The group's report makes a number of recommendations, saying the school should take steps to reduce staff and increase revenue. The report has been sent to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Wayne Sanstead, who said Tuesday he had just received it and had not yet gone through it.

Nicholson one of about 30 members of the study group, which includes community and state officials and school staff. Sanstead said it has been working for most of the year on suggestions for the School for the Deaf.

"There are some potential areas that may need legislation," Sanstead said. "There may well be a reach into more adult programming."

Nicholas said the service provided by the School for the Deaf will always be needed, but the delivery of the service could change.

© 2004 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.