senate Bill S5568A

Signed by Governor

Relates to special education services and programs for preschool children with disabilities

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed by Governor
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actions

  • 21 / May / 2013
    • REFERRED TO EDUCATION
  • 11 / Jun / 2013
    • AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO EDUCATION
  • 11 / Jun / 2013
    • PRINT NUMBER 5568A
  • 18 / Jun / 2013
    • COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO RULES
  • 18 / Jun / 2013
    • ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1458
  • 18 / Jun / 2013
    • PASSED SENATE
  • 18 / Jun / 2013
    • DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • 18 / Jun / 2013
    • REFERRED TO WAYS AND MEANS
  • 20 / Jun / 2013
    • SUBSTITUTED FOR A7302A
  • 20 / Jun / 2013
    • ORDERED TO THIRD READING RULES CAL.540
  • 20 / Jun / 2013
    • PASSED ASSEMBLY
  • 20 / Jun / 2013
    • RETURNED TO SENATE
  • 06 / Dec / 2013
    • DELIVERED TO GOVERNOR
  • 18 / Dec / 2013
    • SIGNED CHAP.545

Summary

Relates to special education services and programs for preschool children with disabilities; audits by the state comptroller of the expenses reported by program providers of special education services for preschool children with disabilities.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7302A
Versions:
S5568
S5568A
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Law Section:
Education Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §4410, add §4410-c, Ed L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5568A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to
special education services and programs for preschool children with
disabilities; to amend the education law, in relation to audits by the
state comptroller of the expenses reported by program providers of
special education services for preschool children with disabilities; and
directing the department of education to study alternative systems of
reimbursement methodologies and monitoring protocols for the tuition and
maintenance components of special education services programs for
preschool children with disabilities

PURPOSE:

This Legislation would provide for greater oversight and improve the
quality of special education preschool provider programs in this State.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill amends Subdivision 4 of Section 4410 of the Educa-
tion Law to establish that if a committee on preschool education recom-
mends placing a child in an approved program for preschool children with
disabilities if such program had previously conducted an evaluation of
such child, the committee shall indicate in writing that such placement
is an appropriate one for the child.

Section 2 of the bill amends Subdivision 9 of Section 4410 of the Educa-
tion Law to require a provider of special education services or programs
to certify as part of its application that its executive director or
person performing the duties of a chief executive officer: (i) meets the
criteria to be an executive director established by the Commissioner of
Education; and (ii) if paid as a full time executive director, he or she
is employed in a full time, full year position and shall not engage in
activity that would interfere with or impair such executive director's
ability to carry out and perform his or her duties, responsibilities and
obligations.

Section 3 of this bill adds a new Section 4410-c of the Education Law
requiring the Comptroller, within such funds as are made available for
such purpose, to audit the expenses reported to the Department of Educa-
tion by every special education services program provider for preschool
children with disabilities in this state. Pursuant to a plan developed
by the Comptroller, such audits shall be conducted in a manner as to
cause every provider to be audited by the Comptroller at least once by
March 31, 2018.

Section 4 of this bill directs the Commissioner of Education to prepare
a comprehensive study of alternative systems of reimbursement methodol-
ogies and monitoring protocols for the tuition and maintenance compo-
nents of special education services programs for preschool children with
disabilities.

The results of the study shall be published no later than one year
following the effective date of this act and shall be submitted to the
Governor, the State Comptroller, the Temporary President of the Senate
and the Speaker of the Assembly.

Section 5 of the bill provides that this act shall take effect imme-
diately; provided, however, that sections 1 and 2 of this act shall take
effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

New bill.

JUSTIFICATION:

New York State needs to strengthen the oversight of the providers of
publicly funded special education services to preschool children, and
improve transparency and accountability in the administration of these
services. Audits of such providers by the Office of the State Comp-
troller have revealed widespread fraud and abuse. Such abuse deprives
children with special education needs of the public resources intended
for them and threatens the existence of these special education
programs. The frequency of these audits needs to be increased. This
legislation would require the Comptroller to audit the expenses reported
to the Department of Education by every special education services
program provider for preschool children with disabilities in this state
at least once by March 31, 2018.

Preschool special education programs require and deserve the full time
and attention of their executive directors. Audits have questioned the
work products of absentee executive directors and/or identified redun-
dant costs for executive direction. This bill would require a provider
to certify that it meets certain criteria.

Additionally, audits by the Comptroller have revealed the potential for
conflicts of interest when the program provider that performs the
assessment of a student with special education needs then places the
child with its own program. An audit determined that 83 percent of
selected preschool children were placed in programs of providers who
also evaluated the children. Before placing a child in a program that
has performed an assessment of a student with special education needs,
this bill would require the committee to indicate in writing that such
placement is most appropriate for the child.

Finally, there are many inequities in the current system of funding
special education services program providers for preschool children with
disabilities. To possibly remedy these inequities, this legislation
would direct the Department of Education to study alternative systems of
reimbursement methodologies and monitoring protocols for the tuition and
maintenance components of special education services programs for
preschool children with disabilities.

These problems and potential problems should be remedied so that taxpay-
er dollars are spent appropriately on the children in need of such
services.

The Comptroller urges passage of this legislation.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

Savings to State and local taxpayers.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that sections
1 and 2 of this act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it
shall have become a law.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 5568--A

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              May 21, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sen. FLANAGAN -- (at request of the State Comptroller) --
  read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to
  the  Committee  on  Education  --  committee discharged, bill amended,
  ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee

AN ACT to amend the education law,  in  relation  to  special  education
  services  and  programs  for  preschool children with disabilities; to
  amend the education law, in relation to  audits  by  the  state  comp-
  troller  of  the  expenses  reported  by  program providers of special
  education services  for  preschool  children  with  disabilities;  and
  directing  the department of education to study alternative systems of
  reimbursement methodologies and monitoring protocols for  the  tuition
  and  maintenance components of special education services programs for
  preschool children with disabilities

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1. Paragraph c of subdivision 4 of section 4410 of the educa-
tion law, as amended by chapter 474 of the laws of 1996, is  amended  to
read as follows:
  c.  The  documentation  of the evaluation shall include all assessment
reports and a summary report of the findings of the evaluation on a form
prescribed by the commissioner including a  detailed  statement  of  the
preschool  child's  individual  needs. The summary report shall not make
reference to any specific provider of special services or  programs.  In
addition,  with  the  consent  of  the  parents, approved evaluators and
committees shall be provided with the most recent evaluation report  for
a  child  in  transition from programs and services provided pursuant to
title two-a of article twenty-five of the  public  health  law.  Nothing
shall  prohibit  an  approved  evaluator or the committee from reviewing
other assessments or evaluations to determine  if  such  assessments  or
evaluations  fulfill  the requirements of the regulations of the commis-
sioner. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provisions of this section, the

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD10634-09-3

S. 5568--A                          2

committee, in its discretion, may obtain an evaluation of the child from
another approved evaluator prior to making any recommendation that would
place a child in the approved program that conducted the [initial] eval-
uation  of the child.  IF THE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS PLACING A CHILD IN AN
APPROVED PROGRAM THAT ALSO CONDUCTED AN  EVALUATION  OF  SUCH  CHILD  IT
SHALL  INDICATE IN WRITING THAT SUCH PLACEMENT IS AN APPROPRIATE ONE FOR
THE CHILD. IN ADDITION,  THE  COMMITTEE  SHALL  PROVIDE  NOTICE  TO  THE
COMMISSIONER OF SUCH RECOMMENDATION.
  S  2. Subdivision 9 of section 4410 of the education law is amended by
adding a new paragraph g to read as follows:
  G. AS PART OF AN APPLICATION SUBMITTED PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH A OF THIS
SUBDIVISION, A PROVIDER OF SPECIAL SERVICES OR  PROGRAMS  SHALL  CERTIFY
PURSUANT  TO  REGULATIONS  PROMULGATED  BY THE COMMISSIONER THAT IT WILL
TAKE MEASURES TO ENSURE ITS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OR PERSON PERFORMING  THE
DUTIES OF A CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER:  (I) MEETS THE CRITERIA ESTABLISHED
BY  THE  COMMISSIONER TO BE AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR; AND (II) IF PAID AS A
FULL TIME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HE OR SHE IS EMPLOYED IN A FULL TIME, FULL
YEAR POSITION AND SHALL NOT ENGAGE IN ACTIVITY THAT WOULD INTERFERE WITH
OR IMPAIR SUCH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S ABILITY TO CARRY OUT AND PERFORM HIS
OR HER DUTIES, RESPONSIBILITIES AND OBLIGATIONS.
  S 3. The education law is amended by adding a new  section  4410-c  to
read as follows:
  S  4410-C.  AUDITS OF SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES PROGRAM PROVIDERS FOR
PRESCHOOL CHILDREN  WITH  DISABILITIES.  1.  NOTWITHSTANDING  ANY  OTHER
PROVISION  OF  LAW  TO  THE  CONTRARY  AND WITHIN SUCH FUNDS AS ARE MADE
AVAILABLE FOR SUCH PURPOSE, THE COMPTROLLER  SHALL  AUDIT  THE  EXPENSES
REPORTED  TO  THE DEPARTMENT BY EVERY PROGRAM PROVIDER OF SPECIAL EDUCA-
TION SERVICES FOR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN WITH  DISABILITIES  IN  THE  STATE.
PURSUANT  TO  A  PLAN DEVELOPED BY THE COMPTROLLER, SUCH AUDITS SHALL BE
CONDUCTED IN A MANNER SO AS TO CAUSE EVERY SUCH PROVIDER TO  BE  AUDITED
BY  THE  COMPTROLLER  AT  LEAST ONCE BY MARCH THIRTY-FIRST, TWO THOUSAND
EIGHTEEN.
  2. A. THE PRIORITY AND  FREQUENCY  OF  SUCH  AUDITS,  AND  ANY  AUDITS
CONDUCTED  THEREAFTER,  SHALL  BE  BASED  UPON A RISK ASSESSMENT PROCESS
CONDUCTED BY THE COMPTROLLER WHICH MAY INCLUDE INVESTIGATIONS OF ALLEGED
IMPROPRIETIES, PREVIOUS AUDIT FINDINGS  AND  RECOMMENDATIONS,  OR  OTHER
FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE INDICATORS.
  B.  IN UNDERTAKING SUCH AUDITS THE COMPTROLLER'S REVIEW SHALL INCLUDE,
BUT NOT BE LIMITED  TO,  EXAMINING,  AUDITING  AND  EVALUATING  RELEVANT
FINANCIAL  DOCUMENTS  AND  RECORDS OF PROVIDERS FOR THE PARTICULAR YEARS
INCLUDED WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE AUDIT.
  C. ALL AUDITS SHALL INCLUDE ANY APPROPRIATE FINDINGS  AND  RECOMMENDA-
TIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER REGARDING THE PROPRIETY OF THE AMOUNTS REPORTED
AS  EXPENSES  TO  THE  DEPARTMENT  AS  WELL AS ANY OTHER FINDINGS DEEMED
APPROPRIATE WITH RESPECT TO THE PUBLIC FUNDING OF THE SPECIAL  EDUCATION
SERVICES.
  D.  THE  COMPTROLLER SHALL REFER ANY FINDINGS OF FRAUD, ABUSE OR OTHER
CONDUCT CONSTITUTING A CRIME THAT ARE UNCOVERED DURING THE COURSE OF  AN
AUDIT,  AS  WARRANTED  TO  AN  APPROPRIATE AGENCY OR AGENCIES POSSESSING
JURISDICTION.
  E. THE FINAL AUDIT REPORT RESULTING FROM AUDITS PERFORMED PURSUANT  TO
THIS  SECTION  SHALL  BE POSTED TO THE DEPARTMENT'S INTERNET WEBSITE AND
OTHERWISE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC UPON REQUEST FOR A PERIOD  OF  AT
LEAST FIVE YEARS. FURTHERMORE, THE AUDITED PROVIDER SHALL BE REQUIRED TO
POST THE FINAL AUDIT REPORT ON ITS INTERNET WEBSITE, IF ANY, FOR A PERI-
OD OF FIVE YEARS.

S. 5568--A                          3

  F. THE COMPTROLLER SHALL INFORM AND ADVISE THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGIS-
LATURE  IN  DECEMBER  OF  EACH  YEAR  REGARDING  ITS  AUDITS OF EXPENSES
REPORTED TO THE DEPARTMENT BY PROGRAM  PROVIDERS  OF  SPECIAL  EDUCATION
SERVICES  FOR  PRESCHOOL CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES CONDUCTED DURING THE
PRECEDING  TWELVE  MONTHS  AND REGARDING ANY OTHER PERTINENT INFORMATION
THE COMPTROLLER DEEMS APPROPRIATE.
  S 4. The legislature finds that special  education  services  programs
for  preschool children with disabilities have been susceptible to fraud
and abuse.  Therefore, the New York state  department  of  education  is
hereby  directed to conduct a comprehensive study of alternative systems
of reimbursement methodologies and monitoring protocols for the  tuition
and  maintenance  components  of special education services programs for
preschool children with disabilities.
  The results of the study shall be published no  later  than  one  year
following  the effective date of this act. A copy of the results of such
study shall be submitted to the governor,  the  state  comptroller,  the
temporary president of the senate and the speaker of the assembly.
  S  5.  This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that
sections one and two of this act shall take effect on  the  one  hundred
twentieth  day after it shall have become a law; provided, further, that
effective immediately the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any  rule
or  regulation necessary for implementation of this act on its effective
date is authorized to be made on or before such effective date.

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