LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Schools in Little Rock that fill a special role will be getting special funding to better help their students.
On Tuesday, an Arkansas legislative committee approved a $30 million request from the Arkansas Department of Education to go to the Arkansas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Arkansas School for the Deaf.
The money came from the state’s restricted reserve fund and will be split between the two schools. It will go to improvements to buildings and construction projects on campus, according to statements from the schools’ superintendents.
State Senator Jonathan Dismang explained why this money was so necessary.
“They fill a very unique need in the state of Arkansas, and it’s been a priority for the legislature and the governor’s office for as long as I’ve been here,” Dismang said. “We just want to make sure they’ve got the tools and resources they need.”
James Caton, superintendent of the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, expressed how important and appreciated the funding is.
“I appreciate the support of the governor, legislature, and ADE. The school serves blind and visually impaired students from across the state of Arkansas,” Caton said. “Our buildings date from 1938 through the early 70s. The additional funding will allow the school to make critical facilities improvements that will lead to a safer campus, improved educational environments for learning, and updated residential facilities.”
Dr. Janet Dickenson, the superintendent of the School for the Deaf, said the funding sends a strong message to students.
“This investment in our future sends the message to our students that they are truly valued,” Dickenson said. “We know how important it is to provide a place where our students feel safe in order to thrive. This is where deaf children not only come to learn, but where they live. This is home. This funding will allow us to create a living and learning environment that equals the education that we provide.”