Advocates for the visually impaired, blind rally for state funding in RI

PROVIDENCE, RI (WLNE) – Dozens of families, teachers, and students are calling for some state funding to go to blind and visually impaired students.

Advocates gathered outside the Vets Auditorium in Providence Tuesday to call on Rhode Island lawmakers to put $2.5 million in the state budget for the Rhode Island Vision Education and Services program.

(Note: The Vets Auditorium is where Rhode Island’s House of Representatives are temporarily conducting House floor sessions to provide greater social distance than is possible at the state house.)

This comes as the state contract with a school for those with disabilities is set to end.

As a result, 13 teachers at the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College were laid off.

The contract has been put out to bid by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE).

Parents and visually impaired students, like Jackson Troxell, are trying to save their teachers and those vital services.

“If I didn’t have those services I don’t know if i’d be where I would be today,” Jackson Troxell said. “I am taking honors classes and next year I am taking [Advanced Placement] classes. I’ve seen how well this program works and it can’t just go away.”

A RIDE spokesperson says they’re having conversations with stakeholders on how the state can support these services and students.

Governor Dan McKee’s office adding that they are committed to finding a solution to ensure students get the services they need.

Categories: News, Politics, Rhode Island