Special education providers will receive a 4 percent increase in reimbursement rates according to a recent announcement made by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Schools benefiting from this increase serve approximately 13,500 students across the state with diverse and complex needs such as emotional or physical disabilities, mental health issues, trauma, substance abuse, or involvement with the juvenile justice, social service or child welfare system.
“Special education providers deliver extraordinary services to students who face unique learning challenges,” Cuomo said. “This action recognizes the important role these providers play in helping children with special needs succeed and we’re proud to support them.”
In addition to the 4 percent cost of living adjustment, action was taken today to continue the reforms approved two years ago that help to stabilize and streamline the rate-setting process for school-age providers. The administration is also committed to working with the State Education Department and providers as they implement the new minimum wage. Providers will be reimbursed within the enacted appropriation for direct salary and related fringe costs through tuition rate adjustments. Rates will be amended before the new minimum wage requirements take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.
While the majority of school-age special education students receive services from their school district, the students in schools impacted by these rate increases are placed there by each district’s committee on special education as the last option in the continuum of services. Services provided include an array of supports that extend well beyond education services.
Schools to benefit include:
• “853 Schools,” named for their statutory reference. These schools are operated by private agencies and provide day and/or residential programs for students with disabilities. There are approximately 130 such schools which together serve thousands of students. Locally, this includes:
AHRC, ASCENT, Brookville Center for Children’s Services, Center For Developmental Disabilities, Developmental Disabilities Institute, Eden II Institute for Autistic Children, Hagedorn Little Village School, Harmony Heights School, Maryhaven Center of Hope, Nassau Suffolk Services for the Autistic, SCO Family of Services, School for Language and Communication Development, UCP, Variety Child Learning Center and Woodward Mental Health Center.
• 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. Locally, this only includes Little Flower UFSD in Wading River (Suffolk).
“This funding is a perennial priority for the Assembly Majority and will enable our schools to reduce barriers to learning and make sure that the unique needs of every student are met,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “Ensuring that every student in New York has equitable access to a high quality education is key to creating the brightest future possible for all New Yorkers.”