OLATHE, Kan. - A mandate to cut the budgets for Kansas state agencies could be bad news for a school in Olathe, Kan., that's been helping children since 1861.
In the kindergarten classroom at the Kansas School for the Deaf , kids are learning to communicate using their hands instead of their voices. They are immersed in American Sign Language.
Like the 140 other students at the school, they will be immersed in deaf culture during their years here, learning to cope in a hearing world.
Mary Grove is a KSD senior. She's been a student here since she was 4 years old.
"This is my second home, you know, and the people here are my family,’' she said.
KSD doesn't just serve the kids on campus -- its outreach program supports 255 students and 87 teachers in 108 districts across the state.
But what they heard from the state recently was not welcome news.
"As state agencies, we were all to cut 10 percent from our budgets," said Madeleine Burkindine, superintendent of the Kansas Schools for the Deaf and Blind.
The state schools for the deaf and blind are more than state agencies -- they're places of education. They are hoping that will help when they appeal the budget cuts.
"I'm confident that when we do that, the governor and the legislature will look at us as schools," Burkindine said.
Officials at KSD are sure that everyone would value their school as much as they do if they saw what happens here.
"I just would invite people to come and see this school and see what it has to offer and see how important it is to our children's lives,’’ said Kelly Grove, Transition Facilitator and Mary’s mother.
The school has already dealt with some budget cuts, but whatever happens in the future, they say they will continue their work to help deaf kids lead independent, productive lives.
"We have the school still here, and that's what we need to focus on," Mary said.
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