Michigan School for the Deaf Forever

To the Honorable Governor Rick Snyder and the State Legislators of Michigan

Why would the government of Michigan trample on Deaf children?  Does the State care about Deaf children?  Why hasn't the State sought the input of the students, parents, teachers, alumni, and the Deaf community regarding the sale of the Michigan School for the Deaf?  Why hasn't the government of Michigan replied to the inquiries of the Deaf community regarding the sale of MSD?  Does the State view the Deaf people as second class citizens?

We the Deaf people of Michigan oppose the sale of the Michigan School for the Deaf.  The Deaf people are making the utmost sacrifice.  There is no written guarantee that MSD will 'permanently' survive once the lease expires.  According to the constitutions of 1850, 1908, and 1963 the State of Michigan has an obligation to provide a place (institution) of education for Deaf children.  

Mr White, the developer and the Michigan Dept of Education held secret meetings.  Even though the agreement was reached in early Spring of 2010 the sale was not announced until the start of the school year.  They rushed those proposals to the State Legislators in early November for a vote in December which passed.  The State Legislators were misled into believing the Deaf community was 100% behind the sale.  The State Legislators were  misinformed of the facts.  The input of the Deaf community was never sought.  The Deaf people were never asked if we wanted a new school or to keep and move to Fay Hall.  Again,  the agreement as written does not guarantee the survival of MSD 'permanently' once the lease expires. 

The Dept of Education has attempted for many years to close MSD.  Perhaps the sale would have never occurred if the Dept of Education had maintained the buildings regularly over the years.  The Dept of Education will be saving monies in the short term but it will eventually become costly.  Mr White bought the MSD campus at the very low cost of $1.2 million and will be receiving a $5.6 million tax credit.  The annual lease will start at $2.1 million and by the time the lease expires the annual lease will be $3 million.  Mr White will make a handsome profit once he leases and sells Fay Hall to Powers Catholic High School.  The agreement with Mr White will lead to a decline of MSD enrollment.  The additional cost of the lease will be passed on to the school districts.  If the Dept of Education had focused on increasing the enrollment numbers at MSD the cost per student would be lower.  The Dept of Education could invest the taxpayer dollars into the buildings on MSD campus and save taxpayer dollars in the long run thus keeping the costs to the school districts low.  When the lease expires will the Dept of Education finally reach its goal of closing MSD if Mr While and the Dept can not agree on the terms of a new lease especially with a lease increase?

We the Deaf people of Michigan ask Governor Snyder to revoke the $5.6 million tax credit to Mr White since there was no public hearing.  Remember, we are also taxpayers.

We the Deaf people of Michigan ask Governor Snyder to order the Dept of Education not to sign the contract with Mr. White on June 1, 2011. and to work with the Deaf community in lowering the costs and renovating MSD thus providing a better deal to the State of Michigan.

We the Deaf people of Michigan ask our State Legislators to repeal the sale of the Michigan School for the Deaf to Mr White.

Representatives of the Deaf Community would like to meet with you Governor Snyder and the State Legislators to discuss this issue further and respond to any questions you may have.