Board of Regents vote to terminate Iowa School for Deaf teacher

BY DI STAFF | JUNE 14, 2011 7:20 AM

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The state Board of Regents voted unanimously Monday to terminate Iowa School for the Deaf physical-education teacher Karen Lechner.

Regent President David Miles said at the meeting the School for the Deaf Superintendent Jeanne Prickett recommended in April to end Lechner’s contract because of a lack of funds. Lechner, who made about $50,000 in 2010, then requested a private hearing before the regents.

Lechner is one of five School for the Deaf teachers who received “reduction in force” notices this year, though she was the only one to request a hearing.

Prickett said her institution has seen a roughly 16 percent budget cut over the last two years, and cuts have occurred since 2000. The school cannot raise property taxes like other state K-12 schools, she said, making it hard to raise funds in response to decreased state education appropriations and low allowable growth.

“That does make our budget very different,” she said. “There’s no way to find an extra resource.”

Miles said last Monday that state appropriations to regent universities have decreased by approximately 24 percent over the last decade.

While the School for the Deaf does not charge tuition for Iowa students, it does receive some funding through Nebraska-student tuition. Yet, Regent Robert Downer said, the School for the Deaf still faces similar challenges to those of other regent schools because of decreasing education funding.

“Funding at all levels within our areas of responsibility are a concern,” he said.

— by Luke Voelz

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