Group demands Hochul sign bill to address 'crisis in special education'

A group of concerned parents, teachers and administers is calling on the governor to sign a bill that would increase funding for certified teachers amid what they call a crisis in special education.

News 12 Staff

Nov 22, 2021, 10:14 PM

Updated 917 days ago

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A group of concerned parents, teachers and administers is calling on the governor to sign a bill that would increase funding for certified teachers amid what they call a crisis in special education. 
They say schools that cater to students with severe learning disabilities are not getting the state funding they deserve. 
Amanda Garcia says her 9-year-old son Nathaniel has been thriving at the School for Students with Autism since he became a student there four years ago. However, she is worried that all the hard work may be lost because of high turnover. 
The group says it is a dire crisis many special-education schools are facing because of years of low state funding. They say schools like theirs provide a place for students who need more help within the city’s special-education system. 
They say 4,410 schools are struggling with a 40% staffing shortage because their teachers and support staff leave for higher-paying jobs. 
A bill introduced by Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benedetto would increase state funding for these schools from 4% to 7%. 
The measure has passed in both the Senate and the Assembly. Administers say they are roughly 300,000 preschool children in the city in need of special-education services that are being left in limbo because of the current shortage in these specialized programs. 
The group is asking Gov. Kathy Hochul to throw them a lifeline and sign the bill into law. 
They say over 60 programs like this have closed in the state in recent years, 30 of them in the city alone. 


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