Home > Article from newspaper > The only school for deaf children in Denver may be forced to close.

The only school for deaf children in Denver may be forced to close.

February 17, 2007

DENVER – When students like Belva Wolcott came to The Rocky Mountain Deaf School, they were looking for a way to improve their lives. Now, the charter program is in danger of shutting down due to financial problems.

“They really teach me a lot of stuff, what to do outside of the school and what to do in the school,” said Wolcott.

When you look at the 6th grader, it’s hard to tell she’s deaf. She can read lips so well, she doesn’t always need an interpreter and her speech is crystal clear.

“Our teachers are all versed in deaf education and have a strong background in the research of teaching deaf students,” said Dr. Janet Cerney, the school director.

Most of the teachers are deaf themselves acting as role models and creating an environment where all the students can feel comfortable and confident.

However, due to state guidelines on charter school finances, The Rocky Mountain Deaf School cannot use tuition funds or the public money it gets from the state on building costs. Because of that, the school cannot pay its rent and may be forced to shut down.

“We don’t have a solution in sight yet,” Cerney said.

She and other administrators are appealing to the Colorado Department of Education to change the guidelines to allow the school to use tuition money on building costs. Cerney says she’s not sure the state will do that.

If not, the only program in Denver which exclusively serves deaf students will be forced to close its doors. The students would then have to attend mainstream schools with the help of sign language interpreters.

“If I go to a hearing school, I wouldn’t understand the teacher more than here,” Wolcott said. “I would freak out. I’ve been at this school for a very long time since pre-school and I really love this school so much.”

“It will be a challenge to keep our doors open,” said Alison Talbert.

Talbert’s says her 9-year-old daughter, Payton, has flourished here.

“The other option, of course, is to move out of the Denver metro area, relocate my family,” she said.

The nearest deaf school outside of Rocky Mountain is in Colorado Springs where students have to live on campus. Cerney says the best options for her school are to find a donor willing to pay for building expenses or for the state to listen to the problems and make a change.

(Copyright KUSA*TV. All rights reserved.)

  1. SSFA
    February 17, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    That suck! I hope they will get a lot of federal funds.

  2. Michelle
    February 21, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    oh shit!

  3. Garfieldcat
    February 24, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    Oh man! More and more deaf school closing? That is so crazy. Parents of deaf kid will have difficult to find good deaf school in the future.

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