Allentown, PA: Regular ed enrollment drops, "but climbed for special education"

June 17, 2017, The Morning Call (PA News): Catasauqua, Allentown school boards want answers from Innovative Arts Academy after teachers' statements Catasauqua Area and Allentown school boards are seeking answers from Innovative Arts Academy leadership about concerns raised publicly by two teachers over the charter school's special education program. The teachers, Ann Tarafas and Elizabeth Fox, told charter school trustees on June 7 and Catasauqua Area School Board members on Tuesday that the school could be falling short of state compliance for students' individualized education programs because of lack of staff. The school was missing a psychologist and speech therapy services for months because a contractor was not paid, they said at the meetings. … Enrollment from Allentown dropped in regular education from 218 in September to 186 in May, but climbed for special education, rising from 22 pupils in September to 30 by May, the report says. … "At the end of the day it's about providing the best education for our students and ensuring our taxpayers' dollars are being used properly," Martinez said. "If they aren't providing the services they need to, that needs to be investigated." Allentown provides $9,370 in tuition payments per student to charter schools for regular education students and $22,138 for special education students, according to Innovative Arts Academy financial reports. Since the start of the school year, Allentown sent $1.8 million in tuition payments for regular education students and $505,499 for special education students to Innovative Arts Academy, according to the charter school's May financial report. … In those emails, Tarafas and another teacher sent Taylor a list of students who they said were not receiving special education coverage because of paraprofessional staffing shortages. Taylor replied, asking for the two teachers' schedules to better understand how they were allocating their time.