Louisiana reorganizes schools for blind, deaf students

Education

FILE – In this Sept. 3, 2020, file photo, students keep social distance as they walk to their classroom in Highwood, Ill., part of the North Shore school district. In response to a push for culturally responsive teaching that gained steam following last year’s police killing of George Floyd, Republican lawmakers and governors have championed legislation to limit the teaching of material that explores how race and racism influence American politics, culture and law. The measures have become law in Tennessee, Idaho and Oklahoma and bills have been introduced in over a dozen other states. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s Special School District, which includes the state-run schools for the deaf and visually impaired, will be reorganized under a bill unanimously backed by lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

The Advocate reports the measure by Baton Rouge Republican Rep. Scott McKnight sets up a 12-member board to oversee operations of the district, including the submission of an annual budget and the selection of a superintendent.

The governor will name 11 of 12 members of the new board, and the president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will name the final member. They will be subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Starting with the 2022-23 school year, instruction costs for the Special School District will be financed through the same $3.9 billion fund that pays for public schools statewide.

The Special School District has an annual operating budget of about $33 million. More than 550 students are enrolled at the Louisiana School for the Deaf and the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired, including 172 who live on the Baton Rouge campuses of both schools.

The district also offers educational services to another 538 students, including through sites operated by the Office of Juvenile Justice, Louisiana Department of Corrections and the Louisiana Department of Health.

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