Happy April Fool’s Day! No worries, I’m not trying to fool anyone here. Everything stated below is true. 🙂
The legislative session ended March 10th. That’s a big relief for a lot of us since that took up a lot of our time. Good news, the legislators have accepted all of our recommended changes for HB 325. Even though it passed and means Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR) will be moved under Dept. of Workforce Service (DWS) we have nothing to worry about. Some of the of the changes to the bill are:
- The ‘hearing impaired’ term has been replaced with ‘hard of hearing.’ In most of the bill.
- The Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will still be called a Division. (before it would’ve been changed to Office of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing)
- In the old version, the director of DSDHH was not included. It now says Assistant Director.
- Responsibility to appoint 4 professional interpreters to the Interpreter Certification Board will be kept with the Director of DSDHH.
In addition to that, Rep. Thurston has requested the auditors to see if DSDHH is a good fit under DWS in Oct 2017.
It was definitely a learning experience for UAD. We learned how to work with the legislators, how to keep the community updated and how to encourage our community to be involved. We’ve established relationship with some of the legislators which will help us with the next legislative session in 2017. We’ll be able to start pursuing bills that’ll protect and advance our deaf and hard of hearing community.
In our most recent board meeting, we have reached a decision that the UAD Bulletin will no longer be every month. It’ll now be quarterly (every three months) starting this month. From now on our UAD Bulletin will be released every January, April, July and October.
Our next big event is Dack Virnig’s storytelling and comedy show on April 7th at Sanderson Center. Please spread the word and be there to laugh with us. 🙂 If you need tactile interpreting, please contact Gabby at this email – firstname.lastname@example.org before April 4th.
We’re still seeking a new UAD member for our board! So if you’re interested or know someone who will be a good fit for the board, please email me at email@example.com. We’ll ask you to make a short one minute presentation at our next board meeting at Sanderson Center on April 13th at 4pm.
L to R: Sari Williams, Philippe Montalette, Gabby Humlicek, Stephen Persinger, Rep. Thurston, Pamela Mower, Laurie Monell
April 7th – Dack Virnig’s storytelling/comedy show
May 7th – UAD General Meeting (bylaw changes, announcements; you can vote if you’re an UAD member)
May 14th – UAD Yard Sale – Donations needed!! Contact Patricia Lowry at PMLowry5@gmail.com.
July 5-9th – NAD Conference in Phoenix, Arizona – http://phoenix.nad.org/
November 8th – Presidential Election Day (Make sure you’re registered to vote – (vote.utah.gov)
April 2016 Holidays
- 1April Fool’s Day
- 15 Income taxes due
- 18 Patriot’s Day
- 22 Earth Day
- 22 Passover
- 28 Take Your Daughter to Work Day
- 29 Arbor Day
During the month of March, the Superintendency, including myself, are involved in the legislative process and advocating for the needs of USDB. This year was no exception. A great deal of time was expended in preparing our requests for the legislative session. This year USDB requested on-going funding for 1) teacher salary increases, 2) pay increases for our interpreters and aides, and 3) funding to sustain the USIMAC (Utah State Instructional Materials Access Center) going forward with a different funding format; instead of the current process.
Our one-time funding requests included an ask for $1.2 million to purchase land and engaging an architect for a permanent location and building in southern Provo and a request was submitted for funding to upgrade USDB Cottages in Ogden.
When the legislative session ended, USDB received most of the funding requested. Our salary increases for teachers and pay increases for interpreters and aides were funded. Our request for a new funding mechanism for USIMAC was not funded; which means we will continue to operate under the current structure. We were not given the full $1.2 million requested for purchasing land and designing a school in the southern Provo area, but they did give us $700,000 for this activity. We believe we can make this amount work as we proceed forward with preparing for a school building in this area. Finally, we received funding to complete renovations on the cottages. Overall, we are very pleased with how things turned out this legislative session.
We did try to introduce language to require doctors to directly refer to USDB when a child is identified with a hearing loss. We received opposition for this language from the Newborn Hearing Screening Committee from the Health Department. They mistakenly believed that we were addressing newborns with this legislation and thought the bill was unnecessary because we already identify most babies in the hospital and USD has access to the database of children who fail newborn screenings. This opposition gave the sponsor concern, so he pulled the bill. In the meantime, we have agreed to work with the Health Department to provide clearer language for next year. I have attended one meeting at this point that was exploratory in nature. I will keep you posted on the progress of this committee.
At this time of year, the administration works towards finalizing projects. There are several projects that are currently being completed. In Ogden we are remodeling a storage area that was once a woodshop. In the future, the space will be utilized for courses and vocational classes. At JMS we will be giving the auditorium a ‘facelift’. There will also be an upgrade to the HVAC system at JMS; which will include air conditioning in the auditorium. Of course, the new building is on track to be completed by August 1, 2016.
It is the goal of USD to provide the most comprehensive and customized educational programs for deaf students in the nation. This goal takes planning, innovation, and forward thinking to make this happen. We hope you will be pleased with our accomplishments and we look forward to working with you as we continue to move USD in a positive direction.
To a Higher Glory
March 23, 2016 – Emery Scott Robinson, 13, was taken back to his Heavenly Father by a sudden illness. He loved being with friends and family. Emery was a student at Jean Massieu School in Salt Lake City. He was interred in West Jordan.