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Charter Schools Deny Admission Based on Student's IEP

I'm sure it doesn't come as a surprise to most, but it certainly is a shameful practice. A recent incident made national headlines when a Philadelphia charter school rescinded a students enrollment when they were provided an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) from her previous school. The guardian of the child alleged that once she provided the school with the IEP, school administrators claimed the special education classroom was full and they didn't have room for her child. The school denies the allegations, but the school district is investigating to determine whether there was wrongdoing. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, it’s illegal to deny students admission on the basis of disability.

This has been an ongoing issue with charter schools nationally, not just in Pennsylvania. Many charter schools do enroll special education students, some even actively seek out special needs students, and they are paid a premium to do so -- $26,197.24 for a special-education student versus $8,327.35 for a regular-education student. However, some charters have been known to only enroll students with less severe disabilities and require less services, than students whose disabilities are more severe or are costly to accommodate.

In Arizona, a report found that some charter schools capped the number of students with disabilities they would serve. Not only does this practice violate state law, but it is a discriminatory practice that is in violation of federal laws and U.S. Department of Education guidelines.

If you have questions about your child's right to receive special education services at charter schools, please contact us at Exceptional Learners to schedule a free consultation.