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2020 Oversight Hearing on Executive Budget

May 21, 2020

We would like to thank the New York City Council’s Committee on Finance and Subcommittee on the Capital Budget for holding this important oversight hearing on the City’s FY2021-22 Executive Budget. INCLUDEnyc (formerly Resources for Children with Special Needs) has worked with hundreds of thousands of families since our founding 37 years ago, helping them navigate the complex special education service and support systems.

While we commend the Mayor and Chancellor for their unwavering commitment to our 1.1 million students during the Coronavirus pandemic, we testify today to highlight the urgent need for the Council and the City to reject the proposed budget cut of $110 million to Fair Student Funding. This drastic cut would significantly impact the educational progress of hundreds of thousands of students with disabilities who are already far behind. Fair Student Funding is the main source of school-based funding for special education teachers and paraprofessionals in community schools.  

Students with disabilities should not be disadvantaged further as a result of this budget cut. Prior to the pandemic and school closures, students with IEPs were already at risk. They significantly lag behind general education students in Math and English proficiency, drop out of school at higher rates, and graduate on time at much lower rates than their non disabled peers. All of this leads to weak post-secondary outcomes and employment rates for people with disabilities, limiting their access to becoming productive, meaningful contributors to our community. With these outcomes, we are not fulfilling our commitment to New York City students. Missed services and more limited one-on-one instruction due to school closures means our students are more in need of receiving appropriate academic support in their mandated placements than ever before. As one parent recently told us, “My son’s services are all tied to his school. Without them he will suffer.” 

We also are very concerned about the social-emotional well being of our students and their families. COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted Black and Latino New Yorkers. Eighty percent of all students receiving special education services and supports identify as Black/African-American or Hispanic. While we are fully aware of the current budgetary constraints and the tough economic times, we plead with the New York City Council to ensure that every school has a full-time counselor or social worker, and a nurse. We know that learning can not occur when students experience trauma, anxiety, and stress, and/or their families have insecure employment,  housing, and health care.  

We also urge you to preserve the $750 million committed to improving school accessibility in the 2020-2024 Capital Plan that addresses the historic lack of physical accessibility of New York City school buildings for students, parents, and teachers. 

Thank you for taking the time today to consider this important matter. We look forward to partnering with you to improve equity and access for all young people with disabilities in New York City. 


Barbara A. Glassman

Executive Director