Pittsburgh school board approves Specialized Education Services to run Clayton Academy again

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An outside company will continue to run the city school district's alternative program at Clayton Academy on the North Side this fall.

The board of Pittsburgh Public Schools tonight approved a one-year extension, spending up to $2.8 million for Specialized Education Services Inc. to run the program, which serves students in grades 6-12 who have been disruptive in other district schools. The contract covers 250 students.

Only board member Mark Brentley Sr. voted against the extension although board member Regina Holley said she was reluctantly voting in favor of it.

The board was expected to vote on it last month, but it was removed from the agenda. A year ago, the district planned to take the program over itself, but school superintendent Linda Lane said the district is not ready yet.

As of a presentation to the board in February, Clayton had served 334 students this school year. At that point, 60 students had been successfully transitioned back to the home school and one had returned.

The board's agenda noted improved attendance and academic growth of Clayton students. It also said the rate of suspensions had fallen.

The current plan calls for district staff to provide the service in 2015-16.

Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.

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