OMAHA (KPTM)- The Iowa Board of Regents is considering a plan to merge or close some schools for students with vision and hearing disabilities.
That worries some parents, who say if one school closes, the quality of their kids' education will be compromised.
More than 30 people formally submitted their input prior to a public meeting Monday night, but dozens packed a room at Iowa School for the Deaf.
Parents, students and teachers came out to sound off on why they want the school to stay.
"If we go back to mainstream programming," said Donald Miksell whose daughter graduated from ISD. "I don't want to see that happen. The isolation, the curves for deaf kids. This is a home for us, we come to this school because it's home for us."
Their biggest issue if ISD were to close is that students who are deaf or blind would have to go to public schools or the new location, which they say would be too far away.
"So many people have moved here to be close to their children, to be close to the school and close to the family, to be close to the education and be apart of it," said Amanda Frieze who has a daughter enrolled at ISD.
Aside from location—the committee is considering other factors.
Regardless of where the board of regents puts the school, they say supportive teachers, skilled interpreters, self-contained classrooms and statewide options for these services need to be accessible to all registered deaf and blind students.
"We want to close that gap that exists between students without a disability and students with a disability," said ISD's superintendent Patrick Clancy. "We want students with disabilities to perform at high levels like students that do not have a disability."
For the next few weeks a committee will look into how the state can provide services to deaf and blind students that will help them excel in all aspects of education. They need to find a solution that's fair, saves money - but most importantly is academically competitive.
Comments from the meeting will be added to a feasibility study that is expected out in September. Recommendations will be turned in this winter.