Save Our School
In his 2011-12 Executive Budget proposal, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has included numerous statutory changes which could severely impact the future of New York's 4201 Schools for deaf, blind and severely physically disabled children. Lexington School for the Deaf is one of eleven 4201 Schools in New York State affected by these cuts.
Components of the proposal include:
- 4201 Schools' distinction will change from a state-supported private school, to an approved private special education school.
- Most of the 4201 Education Law regarding Schools for the Deaf and the Blind and severely physically disabled children will be eliminated, and instead schools will be moved to the category of 4410 schools (special education services).
- The funding structure for these schools will be changed to a 'rate-setting' model. This means that tuition would now be paid by school districts, not the state. With many school districts struggling with deep cuts, the 4201 Schools are concerned that they will not choose to pay tuition to send students to our schools. Instead, they may opt to keep students in their own programs.
- Our eleven schools will be prohibited from having multidisciplinary teams to assess students, and prohibited further from developing IEP's for our students. All assessments and IEP development will be done by the school district. The 4201 Schools are concerned that school districts may not have the expertise to conduct quality assessments and to develop appropriate IEP's for students.
- The current proposed timeline allows our students to stay at their current school until June 2012. Then, the school district's new IEP's would take effect and determine placement.
- All employees hired after June 13, 2011 will not be eligible to join the state's retirement plan. It will be difficult to recruit and hire quality applicants. Developing our own system is time consuming and cost prohibitive.
- No later than July 1, 2012, the Commissioner shall review the status of each school and determine whether or not to continue or revoke approval.