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Cyber Charter Threatened Over Treatment of Students With Disabilities

The Georgia education department is threatening to shut down an online school unless it addresses a host of issues related to the education of students with disabilities.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported recently that the state's largest public school—with 12,000 students—could be closed by the end of the school year if it fails to create or obtain individual education plans for students with disabilities, offer those students individualized instruction, and address parent complaints.

Those and other issues were spelled out in a report delivered to Georgia Cyber Academy this month. The newspaper said the report notes that the cyber school's issues with educating students with disabilities dates back to 2009, when those students' test scores ranked among the lowest in the state.

The head of the school told the paper he will meet with the department of education this week "to discuss this report and develop a plan to collaborate with them to ensure that all of our students continue to receive all the services to which they are entitled and verify [Georgia Cyber Academy's] compliance."

Georgia Cyber Academy's enrollment of students with disabilities has risen from 600 to 1,100, the newspaper said, and the school's staffing hasn't kept up. The school's leader said the school has had and continues to have difficulty getting students' IEPs from their prior schools.

The charter school is affiliated with K12 Inc., the nation's largest for-profit operator of online K-12 schools.

The relatively new Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities has raised concerns about students with disabilities' participation in online education options.

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