Special education providers across NY seek pay equity

Morgan McKay - Spectrum Local News

July 29, 2021

Special education providers are in limbo on whether they will see an increase in funding this year.

State funding for special education providers has always been decided outside the state budget, so there have been numerous years when funding for public schools has been increased, but special education schools saw their budget cut.

While funding for public schools is negotiated in the state budget, funding levels for 4410 and 853 schools, which serve students with special needs, is set by the state Education Department, subject to the Division of Budget’s approval.

A bill that would link public school and special education program funding passed unanimously in both houses.

Senate sponsor of the bill, Senator John Mannion, says at least 60 of these special education schools have closed around the state due to the lack of stable and consistent funding.

“It would seem obvious that whatever other school districts receive that these schools would as well, but that is not the case,” Senator Mannion explained. “These kids need to be valued and they need consistency. And the people that run these schools need that as well. It's challenging to develop budgets as it is, but if you don't know the funding that's going to be there, it's even more challenging.”

Public schools in the state budget this year received a record level of state aid funding and a 7% increase in Foundation Aid.

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