Save Our NYC Preschools for Special Needs Children!

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Please support our petition to Governor Cuomo to increase funding in 4410 and 853 programs that provide New York City preschool services for special needs children!

Dear Governor Cuomo,
As you know, in New York City, all preschools for children with special needs are contracted by their local school districts to provide special education and related services such as speech, occupational and physical therapy. Although they are contracted by the Department of Education, these preschools for special needs students have not been treated equally and do not receive the same benefits that other public schools receive from an increased state education budget. In fact there have been minimal increases in their tuition rates. Since 2008, public schools have received 35% budget increases and the preschools have received only 6% (2% the past three years).  This year there is no increase in the budget. This 6% increase was given but it was unfortunately too little, too late. Many of our preschools for special needs children had to close. The preschools that remain open are at great risk of closing and cannot keep their staff, with salaries significantly less then the Department of Education. This leaves our most vulnerable population; 3 to 5 year old children with developmental disabilities even further disadvantaged.

Without preschool services these children will not get the help they need now, when they need it most. During the formative years, the brain is still developing connections that could change the future for young children. Parents need to hold onto hope for their children's futures. New York State's young children need your help now.  Do not let preschools for children with special needs close their doors on any child in the great State of New York.  We are counting on YOU, our governor to support and approve an increase in our budget so all children can be given the support they need as early as possible! It’s critical, not only to the future of these children but to the economic stability of our state.  Please be our Champion and help our schools.