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Charter school rebuts claim that special ed students get short shrift

We were pleased to see the article “Charter schools’ building costs cited” (Metro, Jan. 28), which points to a serious funding problem that many charter schools face. Yet we were concerned by the position of Boston Teachers Union president Richard Stutman, paraphrased by the reporter: Stutman “said charter schools do not require additional funding and are actually overfunded, because they do not educate costlier students, such as English-language learners or special education students.” This point, which went unanswered in the article, is simply untrue.

The special education program at our school serves 106 students, or 21 percent of the student body, as compared with the state average of 16.7 percent and Boston Public Schools’ 18.7 percent in 2011-12. Our staff includes a special education administrator, eight classroom learning specialists, two occupational therapists, a speech and language pathologist, and a school psychologist. Our program is tailored to the needs of individual students, including English-language learners, because our commitment is to help them achieve their academic and social potential.

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We follow all special education legal requirements, and our graduation rate among special education students nears 100 percent. These students are widely recognized by their peers as among the hardest-working and most dedicated members of our student body. We are proud of the work we do, and prouder of the students themselves.

We invite Stutman to contact us any time to schedule a personal tour of our school and special education program.

Rene Dickhaut

Middle school principal

Jenne Grant

High school principal

Academy of the Pacific Rim

Charter Public School

Hyde Park

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