New York City special-education cases against the city on the rise - Daily News

New York City special-education cases against the city on the rise - Daily News

SO MANY PARENTS filed complaints over the city’s handling of special education for their kids that the state was forced to call in upstate hearing officers to help with the caseload, the Daily News has learned.
State figures show a whopping 2,114 complaints filed during September and October — roughly 50 cases per business day, and a more than 33% spike compared with last year.
Almost all of them — 97%— are seeking public funding for private school tuition, the city said.
Experts suggested multiple factors could account for the increase: The state’s decision to limit the use of certain private schools, an earlier backup in appeals that may have delayed lawyers from filing new cases, and the city’s special-education reforms for public schools.
The city has been pushing for more special-needs students to attend public schools that are closer to home — but the United Federation of Teachers and some parents argue these schools aren’t always equipped to serve the kids.
“The kids are not getting what they need for services,” said Carmen Alvarez, the UFT’s vice president for special education.
City officials say it’s too early to be sure the pattern will hold and that November already shows a downtick in hearing requests.
The city Education Department “is committed to making sure that students with disabilities receive the programs and services they need,” said schools spokesman Marcus Liem.

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