IM this article to a friend!

August 18, 2005

Appealing to Have the School Stay Put

From: WHSV, VA - Aug 18, 2005

Meryl Conant

A campus is more than just buildings, so the Board of Education Thursday held a public hearing for the Staunton community at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind.

Former students, current teachers, Staunton residents and more showed up to make their voices heard.

"Please, please, please think carefully, keep the school here," said Rocco DeVito through a translator.

The Board of Education listened to one supporter after another, hearing and deaf alike.

"You can build a fancy school in Charlottesville or Richmond but you may lose the hundreds of combined years of experience of the staff at this school,' said Casey Morehouse, a teacher at the school. "People and programs not buildings make up the heart and soul of this and every school."

And it was to the hearts of the board members that speakers appealed.

"It is so much more important than plans and numbers on papers," explained VSDB employee Jennifer Mercer. "We call them our kids and our students because we care."

No matter the exact words- every person who took the podium had the exact same plea.

"You want to make the best possible decisions for the children and I am going to tell you this is the best possible decision for the children," Race Drake said through a translator.

There is no timeline on when that decision will come. The Board said it will not rush the process, but is expected to update the General Assembly October 1.

© 2005 WHSV