Pattison’s Academy for Comprehensive Education, a special needs charter school which temporarily lost its charter this summer, re-opened today on its campus at Grace on the Ashley Church on Bees Ferry Road in West Ashley. A charter school is a publicly funded school which is governed by an independent board of directors.
Pattison’s is the only special needs charter school in South Carolina. It serves children with severe and multiple disabilities. It has a dedicated staff of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists who work along with special needs teachers and teacher’s assistants.
The school operates on multiple funding sources, including federal, state and local education money, Medicaid, non-profit foundations and individual contributions. Financial difficulties related to Medicaid billing caused the school to lose its charter on June 30. The Charleston County School Board re-authorized the charter less than a month later with the stipulation that the charter board of directors does a quarterly financial review with school district staff.
Randy Disharoon, a Pattison’s parent and board member, notes that the school uniquely meets the needs of his son Seth and 31 other special needs students.
“I can’t put into words how valuable this school is,” he said. “There is genuine love here. The staff knows these kids and can get them to do things the parents never thought possible.”
He noted that Grace on the Ashley has been a wonderful host since the school opened in 2010.
One of the school’s goals is purchasing a third school bus. Creekside Pizza at 2600 Savannah Highway is hosting a $20 per plate buffet fundraiser for the school Sunday, August 21 at 1:30 pm. Individuals may make online contributions at PattisonsDreamAcademy.org/support-us.html. The West Ashley Walmart has a supply bin for the school located near the check-out lines.