Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind Pulls Funding for USU Sound Beginnings Program

Dick Sijtsma via Creative Commons

The Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind has cut ties with Utah State University’s early education program for children with hearing loss. And parents of students who attend the program say the split is a huge setback for their children.

Sound Beginnings notified parents in late July that the program would no longer receive funding from the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind. The school has served children with sensory impairment from birth to age six for the past five years.

Jackie Hendricksen’s son Bear progressively lost his hearing after he was born.

Hendricksen says Bear is getting a superior education at Sound Beginnings, where he’s learning to listen and talk through the use of technology. She says her family uprooted to Logan specifically to gain access to the program.

“These people have become more than a staff, but really family to him and us as parents because they know him and they know how he learns,” Hendricksen says. “To start that process over at the end of his journey would really be tragic to his progress.”

USDB Superintendent Joel Coleman says USDB couldn’t come to an agreement with Sound Beginnings on a budget, so the two parted ways.  Sound Beginnings is now left to survive on its own or students will have to go through USDB for services.

Coleman says parents shouldn’t be concerned.

“The former superintendent that preceded me, his career was in that field specifically,” Coleman says. “And he made sure that we have top-notch programs. So the parents won’t miss out on anything and more importantly the students will have the best services possible.”

Henricksen and other parents who spoke about the issue at Friday’s State School Board meeting say they want the funding to be returned at a minimum for the year so they have time to properly transition their children into a new program.

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.