School Reform Commission Approves Debated Special Ed Plan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The School Reform Commission has approved a scaled-down plan to teach special education students formerly at the troubled Wordsworth Academy.

The unanimously-approved $10 million contract with Catapult Learning was scaled back from a $54 million plan first proposed last month, one that triggered objections from advocates and City Council.

The district sought new placements for 100 special education students who were being taught at the Wordsworth Academy, which lost its license after a student there died.

At Thursday’s SRC meeting, even the new plan sparked debate over segregating special-education students.

Maura McInerney, an attorney with the Education Law Center, questioned a program that would segregate students.

“Inclusion does not mean a separate setting within the school district,” she said.

Commissioner Bill Green confirmed with chief academic support officer Cheryl Logan that parents would have to sign-off on their child’s individualized education plan.

“Catapult will be among he many options available to parents who are going through the IEP process, whose students are currently at Wordsworth?” Green asked.

“That is correct,” responded Logan.

The programs would be housed at the Penrose School, Frankford High, and a third yet-to-be-determined location.

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