Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced special education providers will receive a 3.8 percent increase in reimbursement rates. Schools benefitting from this increase serve students with diverse and complex needs who have not been able to succeed in traditional education settings. Students at these schools face circumstances such as trauma, mental health issues, substance abuse, emotional or physical disabilities, or involvement with the juvenile justice, social service or child welfare system.
"New York State is pleased to increase our support for education providers who deliver vital assistance to schools that work closely with children with special needs," Governor Cuomo said. "Many of these schools are a lifeline to parents and communities, offering services beyond the classroom to support students who are faced with a special set of challenges. This increase is a vital boost to special education providers and recognizes the important role these schools play for New York's children."
Providers that will benefit from this tuition increase include:
"853 Schools," created by Chapter 853 of the Laws of 1976, and operated by private agencies and provide day and/or residential programs for students with disabilities. There are currently more than 120 such schools which together serve thousands of students. A list of these schools can be found here.
Special Act School Districts, which are public schools created by special action of the legislature for the purpose of providing education services to students who reside in child care institutions. There are ten such schools together serving hundreds of students. A list of these schools can be found here.
Many of the students in these schools are placed there as the last option in the continuum of services. The schools provide an array of supports beyond education services so that students may break out of the cycle of trauma.
Tuition rates for these schools are based on actual allowable costs. This year, as approved by the Division of Budget, the calculation of the rates will include a 3.8 percent trend factor increase in recognition of increases to school expenses.
New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said, "The Board of Regents recommended a significant funding increase for Special Act School Districts and Chapter 853 schools so that they could provide essential special education programs for our most severely disabled school age children. I applaud the increase announced today which will provide much needed financial relief and flexibility for these critical programs. We will continue to work with the Governor's Office and Division of Budget to secure further stability in funding to these schools that provide vital programs and services to students with special needs."
Assembly Speaker Silver said, "853 Schools and Special Act school districts provide invaluable alternative learning environments for students with special needs. The Assembly has long been committed to providing support for these institutions and included a crucial investment in our one house budget proposal earlier this year. While we could not come to an agreement prior to the passage of the finalized state budget, today's announcement of a 3.8 percent rate increase is a strong and significant investment in these vital schools. I would like to commend Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan and Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer for their hard work and commitment to ensuring that 853 Schools and Special Act school districts have the resources they need to continue providing quality education to New York's special needs students."
Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "We have an obligation as public servants to ensure that all New Yorkers, especially our children, receive the quality services they require and deserve. Increased reimbursement rates for special education providers is a common sense way to help these institutions better serve students with special needs and I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership on this issue."
Senator John J. Flanagan said, "The governor's decision to pursue monetary support for our state's special needs children is greatly appreciated and will considerably improve and expand the supports and services that are currently available. Extra funding is vital in order to secure growth for these children, and I am confident we will see an increase in a wholesome education, ultimately providing a better outlook for their futures."
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, chair of the Education Committee, said, "This much needed investment in 853 and Special Acts schools is important step forward in supporting students with very special needs. I want to thank Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver and Assemblywoman Shelly Mayer for their leadership and work on this issue."
Assembly Member Shelley Mayer said, "I commend the governor's attention to the 853 and Special Act schools, the schools that serve our most vulnerable children. In order for our state to thrive, our educational institutions need to thrive, and that is just what Governor Cuomo recognizes. As Chair of the Assembly Education Subcommittee on Students with Special Needs, I have heard first-hand the needs of the students and the schools that provide such quality educational services to them. I am pleased that the Assembly's efforts to ensure these needs were addressed contributed to this outcome."