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Florida School For The Deaf & The Blind $10 Million For Upgrades

Florida School for Deaf and Blind seeks about $10 million for upgrades.

TALLAHASSEE - Repairing buildings and making construction upgrades makes up the meat of a funding request being pitched by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine.

The school is asking for $9.7 million in construction money, a steep increase over the $1.4 million in Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed budget and the $1.6 million it got last year. The $1.4 million is the same amount requested by the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the school’s budget.

“With that amount we would barley be able to touch projects needed to ensure safety-related repairs,” said Jeanne Prickett, the school’s president.

With the money, the school wants to fund preventive maintenance, repair projects and remain compliant with the American with Disabilities Act.

“That means we would be able to continue to keep up-to-date buildings and renovate obsolete areas,” Prickett told the House Appropriations Subcommittee during a Tuesday hearing.

Since 2008, the school’s construction funding has dropped by $11.8 million. The funding comes from the same shrinking pot of money used for higher education and k-12 projects. Lawmakers are working to overhaul the system, which is funded by taxes on certain communications and telecommunications.

Students on the School for the Deaf and the Blind’s 80-acre campus have increased from 585 to 610 over the past five years, officials said. Overall enrollment, which includes off-campus students, has increased from 904 to 989 over that time. ... Read more:
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