Nearly a decade ago, Dalton Williams’ parents enrolled him as a student at the Oregon School for the Blind because they believed his home school district couldn’t provide adequate services.
Williams, now 17, is concerned about what might happen to his 30 classmates at the 136-year-old boarding school, should a bill wending its way through the Oregon legislature be approved.
The state Senate is scheduled to vote soon on the measure (already passed by the House) which would close the Oregon School for the Blind and sell the property.
House Education Chairwoman Sara Gelser, the original bill’s chief sponsor, says she has “a problem with an unaccredited school which is declining in enrollment.” She says the school does not have “an articulated K-12 curriculum.” According to Gelser, the bill under consideration would redirect the school’s about $3 million per year in operating funds to a new fund for blind and visually impaired students, allowing them to continue their education in their local schools alongside the vast majority of the state’s roughly 850 blind or visually impaired students.
Are you a teacher, parent or student at the Oregon School for the Blind? How would the closing of the school affect you? Are you a blind student attending public school in your home district? What sort of services are available? What aren’t? What’s the best way to educate blind students?
- Dalton Williams: Student at the Oregon School for the Blind
- Curtis Norton: Visually impaired junior at George Fox University in Newberg and a 2007 graduate of South Medford High School
- Sara Gelser: Democratic state Representative from District 16 (Corvallis and Philomath) and the chairwoman of the House Education Committee
- B.T. Kimbrough: Vice chairman of the Oregon School for the Blind board of directors and the executive director of Blindskills, Inc.