The Department of Education in New York could be creating a very expensive problem for itself. Education officials have delayed finding placement for 15,500 kindergarten students who have special needs. This could result in having those students sent to private schools, with the public school system being required to pay for it. The delay is also causing anxiety for the parents of these children.
The New York City Department of Education is struggling to figure out where 15,500 kindergarten students who have special needs will attend school in the coming school year. They must find placement for all of these children by June 15, 2011, within their schools. If they fail to do so, then the public school system will be required to pay for these students to attend private schools.
In 1988, a legal ruling was created that states that children who have special needs are entitled to a private education, which will be paid for by the city of New York, if the city violates their right to an appropriate education. Violations could occur if the city misses deadlines, (like the one they are facing now), or if they otherwise fail to provide the services that a child needs.
The kindergarteners who have special needs, whom the school failed to place into a classroom in one of their public schools, will receive vouchers that would pay for their private education. This could cost the public school system millions of dollars. The vouchers, however, are not a guarantee that there will be room in the private schools for the kindergarteners to be placed into.
Naturally, this is stressing out many of the parents whose children have yet to be officially assigned an appropriate classroom for the coming school year. Kindergarteners who are “typical” have already been given official classroom assignments. It is only the children who have special needs who are sort of in limbo right now. There is the possibility that some of these children will end up attending a school that is far away from where they live, and many parents do not like this possibility at all.
Where will your child be attending school next fall? If your school district is leaving you up in the air about placement, it may be time to start making some phone calls. Keep in touch with the school district officials who have the authority to make decisions about placement. Take the time to do some research, to see if your state has a law that is similar to the one in New York city. When your child finally does get a classroom assignment, investigate the program. Make sure it will meet your child’s needs, as stated in his or her IEP.
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