Governor Hochul Announces Historic $240 Million Increase in Investment for Schools Serving Children With Disabilities
New York (STL.News) Governor Kathy Hochul announced plans to include a historic $240 million increase in investment for approved private schools serving children with disabilities in her upcoming 2022-2023 Executive Budget. Governor Hochul also signed a package of legislation to increase resources and support for students with disabilities, their families and social services providers.
“This historic investment in schools serving students with disabilities, along with four bills I am signing into law, will make a huge difference in the lives of students, families and schools in every corner of New York,” Governor Hochul said. “Throughout my time in office, I’ve made it a priority to listen to the disability community and provide the resources and support they need to thrive. People with disabilities have my commitment: as your governor, I’ll always stand by your side and fight for you.”
Following the 4 percent cost-of-living adjustment approved for the 2021-2022 school year tuition rates, the New York State Division of the Budget will authorize an additional cost-of-living adjustment of 11 percent for the 2022-2023 school year – an increase of more than 15 percent over two years. The 2022-23 cost-of-living adjustment will increase preschool and school-age special education providers’ annual funding by more than $240 million, with the State ultimately reimbursing school districts and counties for roughly 60% of this cost.
Governor Hochul also signed a package of legislation to support students with disabilities: legislation (S.2911/A.1953) establishes that the Autism Spectrum Disorders Advisory Board provide a report on autism detection, education, and mapping; legislation (S.6682/A.7614) appoints an impartial hearing officer to address due process complaints for students with disabilities; legislation (S.1662-B/A.3523-A) makes the issuing of behavior analyst licenses in New York consistent with other states; and legislation (S.5560-A/A.5339) provides funding to early intervention education for toddlers with disabilities.
Legislation (S.2911/A.1953) provides that the Autism Spectrum Disworders Advisory Board will deliver a report on autism detection, education, and mapping. This report will evaluate and review factors on the causes of autism in children as well as assist healthcare providers and educators with ways to better help those diagnosed with autism.
Senator Kevin S. Parker said, “If knowing is half the battle then we are losing the war against Autism in our great state. This mapping bill is a first step in turning the tide. I’m proud to have drafted this important law to require the Autism Spectrum Disorders Advisory Board to provide a report on autism detection, education, and mapping. This report will evaluate and review factors on the causes of autism in children as well as assist healthcare providers and educators with ways to better help those diagnosed with autism. I thank the Governor for joining the effort to support families living with autism.”
Assembly member Catalina Cruz said, “In New York State, autism has been diagnosed in alarming rates since 1996. It is evident that we need to map and track the number of autism cases in order to accurately determine possible factors on the causes of autism in children. This law creates the Autism Spectrum Disorders Advisory Board, and will provide a report on autism detection, education, and mapping. We must have this important foundation for New York State to identify autism prevalence rates and to expand universal screening, as well as assist doctors and educators with early screening, intervention and treatment. I want to thank the advocates and families for their hard work on this bill, Senator Parker for his partnership and, finally, Governor Hochul for signing this incredibly imperative piece of legislation, improving the lives of children statewide,”
Legislation (S.6682/A.7614) creates a process to immediately appoint an Impartial Hearing Officer (IHO) to rule on special education due process complaints if one has not been appointed within 196 days of a parent filing the complaint. This legislation will ensure that special education students receive the services they need – and that are required by law – within a timely manner. Many cases of this type have languished for years without appointment of IHOs to hear claims; New York City currently has a backlog of several thousand such cases. New York City and the Stated Education Department have recently commenced plans to hire more IHOs to hear these cases, and this legislation will further ensure that parents and students receive necessary services without delay.
Senator John C. Liu said, “New York City has utterly failed thousands of special needs school kids who have been shortchanged educational services and whose families have been run through outrageous bureaucratic and financial gauntlets. The NYC Department of Education has for years repeatedly reneged on their promises to improve their processes as agreed to with legislative leaders, which ultimately necessitated this legislation. A huge thank you to Governor Hochul for signing this bill into law and truly improving the education for children who have for too long languished in limbo at the hands of the NYCDOE.”
Assembly member Michael Benedetto, “I am pleased that Governor Kathy Hochul is signing my bill that allows students with disabilities or their family members to file for an impartial hearing officer in matters related to the identification, evaluation, or education placement. Upon enactment of this legislation, NYS Education Department will promulgate regulations detailing the condensed time frame by which an order will be rendered by an IHO for parents who choose to seek an accelerated order of relief.”
Legislation (S.1662-B/A.3523-A) makes the issuing of behavior analyst licenses in New York consistent with other states. The current law only permits behavior analysts to treat autism and autism spectrum disorders, exclusively. This legislation will remove the restriction, allowing for treatment of behavioral health conditions listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or equivalent system.
Senator James Skoufis said, “While every other state permits its applied behavior analysts to broadly practice their skills, New York has long pigeonholed these professionals, keeping children and individuals with disabilities from benefiting from this impactful therapy. For those struggling in the face of various mental health or developmental diagnoses, this legislation is a game-changer. I am grateful to the many ABAs, families, and colleagues who worked tirelessly to get this bill across the finish line, including Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes, and Senator Mannion. Finally, we owe a debt of gratitude to Governor Hochul for supporting this important legislation and her commitment to children with disabilities.”
Assembly member Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, “I commend Governor Hochul for recognizing it is time to update the practice of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in New York State. This legislation moves the profession forward and consistent with other states in the nation that license behavior analysts. Individuals living with a wide array of conditions will soon be able to take advantage of the proven therapeutic benefits of ABA. Additionally, this legislation will help with the severe shortage of licensed behavior analysts in New York and ensure everyone needing ABA will have access to this vital practice.”
Legislation (S.5560-A/A.5339) provides funding to early intervention education for toddlers with disabilities. It streamlines the system for distributing funding to municipalities, and allows for more early intervention services to be provided to children.
Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick said, “I’m very grateful to Governor Hochul for signing this critical bill which is a win for families and kids, for early intervention providers, and for taxpayers. By creating an Early Intervention “covered lives assessment” and requiring insurance companies to pre-fund an account for EI services, this new law will ensure babies and toddlers get the therapies they need to learn and grow as soon as possible, and will save millions of dollars for New York taxpayers.”
Assembly member Amy R Paulin said, “This new law is a massive step forward in reforming and strengthening the state’s Early Intervention program so that more children can get the help they need, when they need it. It will ensure that commercial health insurers contribute their fair share to the Early Intervention program and will assure good stewardship of state and local tax dollars. I want to thank Governor Hochul for her leadership on this issue and for signing legislation that will allow Early Intervention providers to focus on the critical services they provide to children and families.”