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Harrisburg Offers To Take Deaf School Students

April 28, 2010, 5:13 PM by Katie Janssen

HARRISBURG, SD - With only five students at the South Dakota School for the Deaf, the Board of Regents plans to eventually close the school. The Regents have asked other districts for help in taking on those kids, and Harrisburg has offered its services.

With new facilities and plenty of room for growth, Harrisburg's superintendent Jim Holbeck says the district is ready to welcome the five remaining students at the School for the Deaf.

"Our overhead's already covered here. We have the personnel, we have the nurses, we have the secretaries, we have the cooks and custodians, so we don't have to duplicate those costs," Holbeck said.

The deaf school students all use American Sign Language, so the district would need to bring in staff and deaf educators to continue the quality of learning the students are used to. The South Dakota Board of Regents would help in that process.

"But there would be some main-streaming, some integration to some programs in our school," Holbeck said.

Holbeck says that way, deaf and hearing students can learn from each other, and the school can grow as a community.

"Economically this is the best way to run the program, but above that, this is the best way to provide services to these kids," said Holbeck.

The Board of Regents says Harrisburg is the only school to offer facilities, and regents will consider the offer in May or June.

Just because students have enrolled elsewhere, doesn't mean the need for deaf services has gone away. Wednesday in Eye on KELOLAND, we'll show you how the School for the Deaf is reaching out to students in a whole new way.

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