For 4 years, school age special education providers were given a 0% growth. Over those 4 years, school age special education schools have experienced significant fiscal stress. Last year, the Division of the Budget and the New York State Education Department approved a 3% growth on only direct care costs. This was a positive first step, but a long term solution to the tuition rate methodology is needed.
After many discussions with stakeholder groups, the New York State Board of Regents approved a set of administrative and statutory reforms to help reform the tuition rate methodology and resolve the unresponsive, inflexible, unpredictable and inequitable factors inherent in the tuition rate.
In providing a “free appropriate public education” to all students, New York invests in a diverse array of programs to serve the unique educational needs of the state's most vulnerable, traumatized, disabled and marginalized youth. Special Act Public School Districts and 853 not-for-profit schools provide education and related services to school-age students who for many reasons are unable to be served by either the local public school or BOCES. These schools are specifically designed to meet the intense needs of students placed by the juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health, developmental disabilities and special education systems. This continuum provides students with disabilities with severe behavioral, emotional, educational or physical challenges both day and residential options to meet their individual educational and therapeutic needs.
In order to implement lasting reform, language must be added to the 2014-15 New York State Budget to establish an annual tuition growth index tied to the same investment provided to school aid.