[nfb-talk] The Moorehead School for The Blind May Close:

Kenneth Chrane kenneth.chrane at verizon.net
Wed Jun 10 13:15:31 UTC 2009

Special Alert to All Persons with an association to the Governor Morehead
School for the Blind, family, friends and supporters of the Governor
Morehead School:

Please be advised that late last week a DHHS Subcommittee of the
Appropriations Committee of the NC House of Representatives passed a motion
to close the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh. According to
the proposal, which is attached to this e-mail, the Governor Morehead School
will cease to accept new students beginning in 2009-2010; which would allow
for a natural decline in population through the 2010 - 2011 school year. At
this point, the school would close and remaining students would be assigned
to the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf in Wilson and the North
Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton.

Information shared with staff of GMS on June 8 indicates that the closure
applies to the K-12 program. It is not believed at this point that the
closure applies to GMS Pre-school or GMS Outreach. However, it is important
to note that both of those programs have experienced significant cuts during
the past two years.

The news of the closure of our school has lit a fire within the blind
community.  With that noted, please be alert to the fact that a peaceful
demonstration of support for the Governor Morehead School for the Blind will
be held on Thursday, June 11 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. If you care about the
school, and most importantly if you care about the young people that are
visually impaired with other special needs, then we need you to be a part of
this peaceful demonstration.

We will gather on the sidewalk which is city-owned along the east side of
Ashe Avenue from just south of the main gate of the GMS campus to the
secondary entrance of the campus approximately 2 blocks south. Per the City
of Raleigh, we are allowed to carry out a peaceful demonstration. Our
banners or placards can be no larger than 3 feet by 3 feet. We cannot block
any driveways or right of ways and we must allow access on the sidewalks for
the passing public.

We believe that at this time the future of the Governor Morehead School is
directly in harm's way, and unless those of us who are graduates, former
students, board members, committee members, retired staff, current staff and
students unite as one force it is highly conceivable that this school will
cease to exist by June 30 of 2011 and a 166 year old institution of
excellence will be no more.

It is my hope and my prayer that you will move this e-mail forward to as
many people as possible and that you will also place phone calls to as many
people as possible in order that we can create an enthusiastic crowd for a
peaceful mission. Additionally, we request that everyone stay in touch with
leaders of our various advocacy groups for additional instructions. We also
encourage you to contact your local legislative leaders and encourage them
to work on behalf of our school and save it from this budget cut.

Everyone in this nation understands the depths of the budget crisis; but
none of us can afford to see people with disabilities lose access to
services which are vital to their development as young adults or for aiding
them in maintaining a normal lifestyle as adults. If we all believe in each
other and work together as a team, we can and will realize victory. May the
peace of the Lord be with each of you, and we look forward to seeing you on
Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m.

Facts about the school:

At present, the Governor Morehead School enrollment is approximately 60
students. The students are housed in A, B, C and D dormitories. There are
two block houses which are used for independent living training. The
educational, vocational and art programs are administered in the main school
building, Lineberry Hall; the Simpson Building; the lower level of the
Crockett-Peeler Building; and the gymnasium. Most of the other buildings on
campus house other agencies as well as the rehab center for the blind. This
is being pointed out to illustrate that the campus is in full use, even
though the GMS K-12 program is smaller than it used to be.

In comparison, ENCSD in Wilson is designed to accommodate more than 300
students. There are approximately 103 students on the campus. NCSD in
Morganton is also capable of housing more than 300 students and recent
information suggested that 107 students were enrolled there. Please note:
all of these numbers were prior to graduation ceremonies at the three

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