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The Guiding Hand School in Gallia County, Ohio was all smiles this week. The $1 million levy they have been fighting for passed, meaning the school that serves children with developmental disabilities and their families will remain open for the next 10 years.
Parents and teachers at Guiding Hand are breathing a sigh of relief.
"I just have this off of my shoulders now," Channing Pratt said. "When you have a child with a disability, you have a lot of things you worry about. This is just one less thing we don't have to worry about."
"We are all just so thankful," Tessa Martin said.
If the $1 million levy did not pass, some families were thinking about relocating to find equal care for their children living with developmental disabilities.
"We're not going to have to up route these kids now," Jodi Newell said. "They can stay here where they are comfortable."
Superintendent Pamela Combs tells Eyewitness News they have seen a 275 percent increase in children who have developmental disabilities related to the opioid epidemic in our area.
"Either the child is born addicted, or the child was abused in some way while the parent was on a drug," Combs said.
Just two years ago Guiding Hand School had no children who were referred because of a direct connection to drug problems. Now, it is becoming so common, part of the levy money will be used to hire an extra early intervention specialist to help with the sudden increase of children who are referred.
"Two years ago we were serving right at 20 children full time with developmental delays. We were caring for them in their home. Now we are at 35 children. Many of these children will need life long care because of their developmental disability."
While the increase was not expected it is now something the staff can handle with the levy that passed with 61 percent in Gallia County.
This article has been reproduced for educational purposes only and appeared on WVAH. The original story can be found at: http://wvah.com/news/local/guiding-hand-school-levy-passes-with-61-percent
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