Preschool / Early Intervention
Preschools that serve children with developmental disabilities are paid significantly less than it costs to operate them; the state reimburses these programs at 94 percent of allowable cost and even less of actual cost. Chapters of The Arc New York can no longer subsidize preschool programs without endangering other OPWDD related programs.
In addition, due to the teacher compensation gap between special education schools and public schools, we also continue to have extraordinary teacher recruitment and retention challenges.
Preschools need appropriate growth factors and tuition rate increases along with other fiscal support to bring reimbursement more closely in line with the cost of operations.
Research shows that investing in preschool programs has a significant return on investment.
We advocate for the following to support and sustain preschool and early intervention opportunities for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities:
- provide a 4% tuition increase for special education schools in 2018-19 school year;
- include statutory index for annual tuition increases for 4410 preschools and 853 special education schools, and establish a reserve fund to maintain fiscal viability;
- provide $18 million for special education schools to narrow the teacher compensation gap;
- set aside Universal Pre-school (UPK) seats to ensure classroom integration with 4410 special education preschools; and
- provide a 4% Early Intervention rate increase to address 20+ years of flat/decreasing rates.