August, 2014 | Littman Krooks, LLP
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NYC Makes It Easier to Use Public Money for Private Special Education

August 18th, 2014

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has revealed plans to make it easier for students with special needs to receive public funding for private school education, if their parents believe that their needs are not being met in public school. The action forestalled a bill in the state legislature that would have mandated the changes.

The mayor said that in most cases, when a parent wished to move a child to private school for special education, the request would be resolved within 15 days. The city reserves the right to deny claims, which can lead to lengthy litigation if the parents appeal the decision, but the mayor said denial would be the exception, not the rule.

Parents receiving private school tuition funding would not have to reapply each year as long as the child’s special education plan does not change, and paperwork would be required only every three years, instead of every year.

Advocates for special needs students hailed the decision and said that it will be important to make sure the city follows through.

Court rulings have upheld the right of parents to ask the city to pay for private school when public schools do not meet their children’s needs, but the Bloomberg administration had disputed many such requests, saying that the cost was too high. The city spends about $45,000 annually to educate each special education student in public schools, compared to about $65,000 annually for private school tuition. The city is expected to pay more than $200 million in such cases in 2014.


Learn more about Special Education in New York City by visiting


New Special Education Rules Issued by Education Department

August 6th, 2014

The U.S. Department of Education announced that it will change the way it assesses whether states are meeting the needs of students with disabilities. The department will begin using test scores, graduation rates and other academic information to measure states’ special education performance. The previous system focused on procedural standards, including timelines for due process hearings and evaluations.

According to the department, a change was needed because students with disabilities had lower math and reading scores and lower graduation rates than their peers. Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, said that when special education students are held to high standards, they can excel.

Under the new standards, states that fail to meet certain benchmarks for more than two years could lose some federal funding.

The new standards would be much more stringent. Last year, when the department measured performance by compliance with procedural standards, a total of 41 states and territories were able to meet requirements. This year, when the department included data on student performance, only 18 states and territories met requirements.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires the department to classify states annually as either meeting requirements, needing assistance, needing intervention or needing substantial intervention.

Under the new Results-Driven Accountability standards, New York State was classified as needing assistance, based on data from 2012-2013.


Littman Krooks assists special needs students and their parents with our special education advocacy services. Visit our website, to learn more.

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