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Allentown, PA: 17% of students are SPED; many "require mental health services"

Oct 5, 2018, Allentown (PA) Morning Call: SPECIAL REPORT: Why the Allentown School District is continuously in a financial hole It was June, and Parker, superintendent of the Allentown School District, had already erased $18 million of a staggering $28 million budget deficit through a combination of cuts, a planned tax hike and transfers from district reserves. The final $10 million would be the most painful and could involve furloughing teachers — hundreds of them. It was an option Parker did not want to take, considering the district had eliminated more than 400 positions since 2010. … Allentown School District's finances are a story of a state funding formula that favors wealthier districts, combined with rising charter school costs and the high costs of educating 17,000 students, many of whom live in poverty, don’t speak English as their first language and have learning and emotional disabilities. … Allentown also has seen a 16 percent hike in special education students, who sometimes require as much in mental health services as educational services. About 3,000 students — 17 percent of the entire enrollment — are labeled special education, which is slightly higher than Parkland’s 15 percent.

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