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Reading SD makes change to alt. ed program

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 29 2014 06:59:53 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 01 2014 03:11:36 PM CDT

Reading SD makes changes

READING, Pa. -

The school year may be brand new, but the Reading School District is already making big changes.

The district is changing the company it uses for its alternative education program.

The company will be responsible for educating students in the district who suffer from social and emotional disorders.

Top officials did not reveal much information, Thursday, but administrators said they were in the middle of sensitive contract negotiations.

The move quickly caught the attention of taxpayers.

"And every time they change things around like that, you know it costs taxpayers money because they have to go through lawyers and stuff like that. It's just draining the money that could be used for school," said Andres Acevedo.

Over the past few years, the district's alternative education program has been full of controversy.

When Delaware Valley High School was in charge, a fight that erupted on a school bus was captured on cell phone video, and students complained that similar incidents were a common occurrence.

Then, recently, while Camelot Schools was in charge of alternative education, Ismael Seals, a behavior specialist, allegedly attacked a student, and then fled to New York.

Just Wednesday, he was extradited back to Berks County to face charges.

While it's still not clear why the district has decided to put Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) in charge of its alternative education,  Camelot Schools spokesperson Kirk Dorn said, "We're grateful to have had the opportunity to serve students in Reading over the last year. 99% of our students at Achieve Academy were promoted, and we restored the academic achievement to a school that had been out of control for several years. We also opened a new school for students with social and emotional disorders, Paramount Academy.

"We respect the school district's desire to bring the alternative education programs back to its in-house provider, BCIU. Mostly we just want to wish our students the best in the coming school year," said Dorn.