Update: Special Education Tuition Loan Bill

Special Ed Tuition Reimbursement

New York City Councilmember Justin Brannan introduced legislation last month to help ease the financial burden on independent schools serving students with disabilities. The current system allows students with disabilities to be placed in nonpublic schools with parent tuition payments reimbursed by the City’s Department of Education. Regrettably, extreme bureaucratic delays with the reimbursements are putting our most needy families at risk of being denied adequate educational services. Councilmember Brannan’s revolving loan fund bill will provide loans to cover tuition costs while eligible parents await reimbursement payments from the city. 

The goal of Councilman Brannan’s bill is to offer up to two-year interest-free loans for eligible schools, which must be repaid once reimbursement is delivered by the DOE. Unfortunately, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the NYC public schools’ teachers labor union, has come out in strong opposition to this legislation. UFT recently issued a memo in opposition to the bill, calling the bill “unnecessary and irrational” and suggested reforming the DOE system instead.    

However, in the words of our Teach NYS Executive Director, Sydney Altfield, “Telling a bureaucracy to simply ‘hurry up’ is not a solution. At no extra cost to taxpayers, Councilmember Brannan’s bill is a lifeline for parents who can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars to finance an education the City is required to provide.”  

Teach NYS is positioned to stand up to nay sayers and defend this vulnerable population of students with learning disabilities, who have been ignored for too long. We will continue to advocate on behalf of families and schools and in support of this legislation.