Saturday November 23, 1985

Cedar Rapids Gazette
Saturday, November 23, 1985

Vinton council voices strong
Opposition to moving school

By Regina Huelman
Gazette correspondent

VINTON —- A resolution opposing a proposal to consolidate the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton with the Iowa School for the Deaf at Council Bluffs was passed Thursday night by the Vinton City Council.

     The Council unanimously agreed to take a stand against moving the Braille School to the Council Bluffs campus.

     In the resolution they cite concern for the quality of education provided to visually impaired students and the effects that such a move would have on the economy of Vinton.

     Until the issue is resolved, fire sirens will blast daily at noon to keep up public support. The sirens will start Tuesday after a public meeting Monday night called by Vinton Unlimited to inform the public of the city’s opposition to the proposed move.

     Councilman Morris Eckhart instigated the discussion Thursday saying, "I’m very concerned as a Vinton citizen and member of the council that the proposal is being made and seriously considered and apparently they are going to try and jam it down our throats.

     "I think it is incumbent upon us as the city government to resist that and to do everything we can to oppose” it.

     Eckhart also said that the quality of education the students are getting is the most important issue. He said the program would suffer considerably if moved to Council Bluffs.

     Eckhart also said the move would have disastrous effects on the Vinton economy. "But I think the economic issue just pales in comparison to the importance of the education for the students.”

     Eckhart is also serving as chairman of an action committee appointed by Vinton Unlimited to draw up a position paper which would be forwarded along with the resolution to Gov. Branstad.

     Eckhart said that the school provided services to 283 students last year. He said the vast majority of the population served is from the Des Moines area east.

     Councilman Alan Woodhouse suggested the resolution be sent to other cities, especially those that have students attending the school. "They need to know our position on this,” he said.

     “Our community,” he added, "has adapted to this school.” He listed mobility training, mainstreaming into the public school, and a project where students

are adopted by local families. "The action Committee of Save Our School thinks we are in for a long, hard fight,” Eckhart said, when he proposed that the sirens be sounded.

"We have to beat it soundly enough this time so it is resolved forever,” he added.