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December 10, 2004

Editorals: The full-court press

From: Staunton News Leader, VA - Dec 10, 2004

We were quick to criticize local lawmakers for appearing to shirk their responsibility to fight to keep Staunton's Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind open. Therefore, it's only fitting that we should be quicker to commend them for inviting House of Delegates Speaker William Howell, R-Stafford, to make a personal visit to the school and to lobby him on the school's behalf.

Our VSDB is in danger of being closed, at the recommendation of a state task force which also has endorsed the closing of the VSDB in Hampton. The task force has said that neither of the schools could be considered viable because their energy systems and buildings are outdated. Although no timetable for closure has been set, the final recommendation of the group is to build a new, state-of-the-art school. We, of course, have disagreed with that assessment.

We are in complete agreement with Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, and Del. Chris Saxman, R-Staunton, however. There is no earthly justification to spend the amount of taxpayer dollars it would cost to build an entirely new school when we possess both an historic and functional school along with an existing cadre of deaf and blind individuals who live and work in our community. More important than the brick and mortar, perhaps, is the vital role these individuals play in helping students find life models to emulate and look up to. That kind of bond between school and community can't be measured in dollars and cents, as we were gratified to hear Howell say.

We are also glad to hear Howell state that uprooting the school would not make sense. We agree with that assessment, as well, and hope that with the active role our local lawmakers are taking in support of VSDB, together with the rest of the General Assembly and the governor's office, that there will be good news for the future of Staunton's VSDB on the horizon.

Good job, Steve and Chris; keep the full-court press on.

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