THE BRONX - The Department of Education gets an F for failing to keep parents of special needs students informed, according to a report released Monday.

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and the Citywide Committee on Special Education announced results of their study on the steps of City Hall. About 2,000 parents of disabled and special needs students were surveyed.

Gotbaum said one-third of responders were unaware about services available to their children. Parents also complained about overcrowding, school busing problems and a lack of after-school activities available to their kids.

In March, advocates posed as parents of special needs students. They found more than half of their requests and questions to the DOE went unanswered.The public advocate wants the DOE to be more responsive and to better keep parents of special needs students in the loop. Gotbaum also recommends the DOE help those students with post-graduation plans.

The DOE counters Gotbaum is not highlighting positive parts of the survey.Related information:The Public Advocate's Office