The state Department of Education issued a request for proposals Friday aimed at improving three special schools, including the Louisiana School for the Deaf.

All three will undergo reviews by third-party evaluators, with a report due by the end of the year.

"It is first and foremost an opportunity to improve these schools," state Superintendent of Education John White said.

The other two that will undergo scrutiny are the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired and the Louisiana Special Education Center.

The schools for the deaf and visually impaired are in Baton Rouge. The special education center is in Alexandria.

That school is a residential facility that serves students ranging from those with mental impairments to serious orthopedic problems.

The reviews are aimed at observing each school's educational program, finances and strengths and weaknesses.

The studies will compare the schools with national models of excellence, staffing and how state and federal dollars are used on instruction.

They will also spell out steps necessary to offer programs of excellence.

The schools for the deaf and visually impaired are rated F by the state.

"It is fair to say they are struggling schools by the state's definition," White said of the three.

"While there is some good work going on there is the need to get better," he said. "That is the impetus for this action."

The proposals are due by August 31.

A panel of experts will review them and make a recommendation.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will consider the contract in October.

The review will be financed with federal grants.

White said the evaluations were prompted in part by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which requires Louisiana and other states to submit plans to revamp public schools.

A federal decision on Louisiana's proposal is expected in August.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.