State OKs Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind funding, Gov. Hobbs decries 4-year length

May 2, 2023, 4:25 AM | Updated: 8:25 am

(Photo courtesy ASDB)...

(Photo courtesy ASDB)

(Photo courtesy ASDB)

PHOENIX – Funding for the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind was reassured Monday.

Gov. Katie Hobbs signed the legislative bill – which will fund the school for four years — while also calling for a full eight-year continuation of the school.

“The Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind is a cornerstone of the visually impaired and deaf and hard of hearing communities in Arizona,” Hobbs said. “I encourage the Legislature to reflect on the passage of HB2456 and send me a bill next session that includes a full eight-year continuation.”

The bill passed out of the House on unanimous votes with eight-year funding. When it arrived in the Senate, it was assigned to the Government Committee which reduced funding to two years. Eventually, a compromise of four years was reached.

School advocates and Democrats heavily critiqued the attempt to reduce assurances the school would be funded through the next eight years.

“Today, the public saw Senate Republican Leadership hand over the reins of their caucus to a radical minority — the Arizona Freedom Caucus,” Sen. Juan Mendez said in a statement April 14.

“Senator Jake Hoffman (LD15) and Senator Justine Wadsack (LD17) have led the charge to attack ASDB this entire session and their work came to fruition today through HB2456, ramming through a 4-year continuation of the school when a majority of Senators from both sides of the aisle agreed that the 8-year continuation was warranted and appropriate.”

Arizona law requires automatic termination of state agencies at least once a decade. Lawmakers can reauthorize for up to 10 years.

The school was born in 1912 by Arizona’s first state legislature. The first principal was appointed by Gov. George W.P. Hunt and classes for 19 students began in October 1912.

Classes were held in a converted residence on the University of Arizona.

ASDB now serves over 2,000 children from birth to grade 12 who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind.

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State OKs Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind funding, Gov. Hobbs decries 4-year length