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New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief Report to Governor Recommends Severe Cuts to Special Education

December 11, 2008

(December 11, 2008) On December 1, 2008, the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief, chaired by Thomas Suozzi, released a report proposing that the state government make severe cuts in funding for special education and services for people with autism and other disabilities.

The report to Governor David A. Paterson contained the following recommended cost saving measures.  The Commission believes that...

  • "Inflexible staffing mandates" that require pupil-teacher-aide ratios should be eliminated as a cost-saving measure.
     
  • Class size mandates should be repealed and schools should be permitted to establish class size based on their students' needs.
     
  • There should be no mandatory minimum service levels for special education. Levels should be determined by the CSE's. This would give power to the district to provide speech, OT, PT, etc. as it sees fit.
     
  • The state should push for a change of the federal guidelines to reduce or remove payment for transportation of special education children.
     
  • The state should dramatically accelerate the integration of special education with general education by dismissing the formal classification procedure.
     
  • The state should shift the burden of proof in hearings when families appear with representation.
     
  • The state should shorten the statute of limitations for non-approved private schools reimbursement cases from two years to ninety days

Normally the legislature doesn't meet until January but the Governor has asked that the State Senate and Asssembly convene again on December 16 to work on the budget.