As debate continues over how to fund universal pre-kindergarten in New York State, an Assemblymember from the Hudson Valley wants to ensure that funding for special education programs is part of the plan.
Democratic Assemblymember Didi Barrett recently sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver asking for both universal pre-K and pre-K special education funding to be included in the 2014-15 state budget. She says it’s time to remove the financial burden from local governments.
“Ultimately it’s become an unfunded mandate for our counties so this would really create a win-win-win by offering much better programs for the kids who need the special needs programming at that age and support our counties and allow the school system to do what the school system does, which is provide educational programs,” says Barrett.
She points out that, currently, the state separates how it provides pre-K education: one for children with special needs, funded mostly by county governments, and one for “mainstream” students, funded mostly by school districts.