On Aug. 29, Steven Shaffer's letter purports to tell the truth about the Charterhouse program at the Edinburg School. There are a few truths he neglects to report.
He says Charterhouse will pay the county $300,000 per year for the first two years of a 30-year loan, with a declining amount to be paid the succeeding years. He indicates that "the county will see a profit in the millions of dollars" over the loan's life. I didn't know that government agencies were allowed to make a profit.
Where does he think Charterhouse will get this money? He neglects to inform us that the money will come out of our pockets.
The two main sources for treatment that Charterhouse provides are Medicaid and Comprehensive Services Act funds. Medicaid is a federal insurance program, and according to the CSA website, the Comprehensive Services Act for At-Risk Youth and Families is a law enacted in 1993 that establishes a single state pool of funds to purchase services for at-risk youth and their families. Both of these sources are our tax dollars at work.
Why, when we pay taxes for schools, do we need to pay a private organization?
Why are we overlooking a federal law passed 40 years ago that mandates a free and appropriate public education for all children regardless of disability in the least restrictive environment. Why are we segregating these children? Why are we not hiring specialists to work in our public schools? Many other states educate all of their children in public schools. Why do we insist on shipping ours off?
For those in education who may worry that I am advocating full inclusion, I am not. It is wonderfully successful for some children. It is disastrous for others. But I believe that students and society benefit when we educate children with special needs in our public schools. Only then do we learn to accept those children as part of our society and they learn how to function in society. They are not pariahs to be shuffled off somewhere out of sight and out of mind.
Esther Miller, Woodstock