Special Needs Scholarship Could Replace School for the Deaf

There has been a lot of public outcry against Governor Rendell’s proposal to close the Scranton School for the Deaf, as well as the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children (though in the case of the former, Gov. Rendell plans to provide $5.5 million in transition assistance, meaning a cost cut of only $1.5 million – and there is far more egregious examples of wasteful spending in the budget.).  But these schools cost $80,000 and $40,000 per-pupil, respectively, and are clearly something that should not be operations of the state.

Instead, lawmakers in Harrisburg should look to funding students, not state-run institutions.  Special needs scholarships would be one way to help students.  States like Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Utah all have programs to send special needs students to their school of choice, with average costs per scholarship of $6,000-$9,000.  Not only do scholarships cost far less than these state-run schools, but they also produce dramatic improvements in student learning.