INCLUDEnyc is here to support you all summer long! Our Help Line is open.

IncludeNYC logo

NYC Council FY 2023 Executive Budget Hearing

Published
May 25, 2022
Type
Testimony

We would like to thank the New York City Council’s Committee on Finance for holding this important hearing on the City’s Fiscal Year 2023 Executive Budget. INCLUDEnyc (formerly Resources for Children with Special Needs) has worked with hundreds of thousands of families since our founding nearly 40 years ago, helping them navigate the complex city and state service and support systems.

We testify today to highlight the urgent need for the City to continue prioritizing the needs of young people with disabilities in the FY23 budget. This includes the Council maintaining $3.2 million funding for the Autism Awareness Initiative. Children on the autism spectrum and their families continue to be among the most in need of support and services the last two plus years.  During this time, INCLUDEnyc served more than 14,000 people looking for information to help a young person with suspected or known disabilities, including more than 1500 people who identified either as a young person with autism, or a family member/caregiver of someone with autism. This initiative provided us the resources we needed to help these families during the height of COVID-19 and our now new on and off again COVID surging times . We have deep gratitude to this Council for our ability to carry on being the largest recipient of this initiative.

We also have deep appreciation for the Mayor and Chancellor for proposing $7.4 million in this budget for supporting students with dyslexia by means of early screenings and new citywide literacy initiatives. Research shows the earlier a student receives supports and services the more likelihood they will make educational progress, be educated in less segregated settings, and have better post secondary outcomes, including employment.  

However, a New York City Comptroller’s report released last month stated the NYCDOE had only spent 12% of the $250 million in federal COVID relief funding allocated to provide extra support for students with disabilities in FY22 accordingly. We sadly were not surprised by this as we heard from many families this school year who either did not know Special Education Recovery Services (SERS) were available for their child or that their child was not receiving these services, despite the City allocating money to provide these services after-school or on Saturdays to all students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP). 

We urge this Council to ensure the City allocates and spends the relief funding from the federal government accordingly that specifically targets the provision of special education supports and services to the 300,000+ students with disabilities ages 3-21 living in New York City. In addition, the City must provide students with disabilities equitable access to all COVID recovery supports and opportunities, including transportation to and from students’ homes and all Summer school programming this July and August, and all related programs all of next school year. 

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. 

Sincerely,

Lori Podvesker 

Director of Disability & Education Policy