At the Success Academy Bronx 2 Middle School, teachers identified 13 students who needed special education this school year. But the city's Education Department only approved help for one of them.
Success Academy, the city's largest charter school network, is now alleging discrimination by the Education Department.
"This year it's felt almost like a foregone conclusion that despite all of the compelling evidence, what the evaluation says, what the outside providers have to say that it's unlikely that our kids are going to get the support that they deserve and are entitled too," said Danielle Hauser, Success Academy Bronx 2 Middle School's principal.
Charter schools are publicly funded but privately run. They must apply just like public schools to get students approved for special education services and the extra funding that comes with it.
Success Academy says the city's special education office in the South Bronx is not treating all students equally.
According to city figures, that office approves special education for 80 percent of the public school students referred for the instruction but for only 42 percent of Success Academy students referred.
And Success says its applications for the help often languish.
In the South Bronx, 66 percent of public school students are granted hearings within 60 days as required by federal law.
But just two percent of Success Academy cases are heard on time.
In fact, Success Academy students wait an average of 170 days for a hearing.
One student waited a year.
"We try our best to accommodate and our teachers are flexible with their time, their free time to go above and beyond but we cannot meet the full mandate of services to contract with a speech provider, etcetera," Hauser said.
Theresa Adjei says she believes her daughter, an eighth grader at Success Academy's Bronx 2 Middle School, needs special education. The school agrees. The Education Department rejected the request.
Adjei says one of the Education Department employee esentially admitted the process is rigged.
"She say move her away from charter school to come to public school. It's the same public school. How come I have to move her? She say 'if you move her you can get help.' and I say 'why?!'" Adjei said.
An Education Department spokeswoman said Success Academy is mischaracterizing the situation, but she did not provide an explanation for the disparities in wait times or approval rates.