Thursday, December 2, 2010

Charter school for disabled children in Pennsylvania faces closure


BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Financial problems could force a charter school for needy children to close in Northampton County.

Vitalistic Therapeutic Charter School on Fourth Avenue in Bethlehem serves students with mental health issues and learning disabilities.

The 116 students come from 7 Lehigh Valley School Districts.

About 90% of the students live at or below poverty level.

The charter school says it ran into money problems when its charter was renewed earlier this year with costly stipulations, mainly providing health insurance to all employees.

If the school closes, the students in kindergarten through third grade would be sent back to public schools in their own school districts.

While the school is looking into possible long-term solutions like grants and fundraising, school leaders say they need help in the short-term.

"We were hoping that if there's anyone out there who is interested in helping kids who really need a program like the one they have here, they would be willing to offer us some assistance," said principal Ron DeIaco.