Updates to the Mandated Services Claims Process

CAP-MSRFor anyone who has been working in schools for decades, Mandated Services is a household world. There are several notable changes to this important program, the biggest source of New York State Education Department Funding for nonpublic schools.

Consistent Date for Payments 

When the first, very difficult wave of Covid-19 hit NYS in March of 2020, many schools were in the middle of having their claims reviewed and hadn’t yet been paid for their 18-19 school year claim. When the State approved their claims, they did so at an 80% reimbursement rate, due to a 20% Statewide freeze on payments in response to the financial effects of Covid, which were substantial. Thankfully, all schools ultimately received the other 20% of their claim within 5-6 months, but recognition of an inequity emerged from this very unexpected scenario. Schools that received an immediate approval for their claims got paid immediately and didn’t have to wait an additional 6 months for their full payment. Addressing this, advocacy partners and Teach NYS pushed legislators to act to level the payment schedule for all schools with Mandated Services claims. The result of these efforts was a legislative measure that set a date for both claim submissions and payments that is equal across the board. The claim deadline is April 1st, and the payout date is no later than May 31st. This is very helpful for schools that want to work these dollars into their budgets with consistency. There have been some peripheral changes to the amendment process because of this legislation that aren’t favorable for schools, and we continue to seek ways to remedy this.  

Extended Claim Reviews 

Now that schools get their payments on a set schedule, what happens to the claim reviews that are common for hundreds of the close to 1800 claims that the State receives? The State has pushed these to after the payout process, but there have been major changes, especially this year. The biggest change that we have seen is that the reviews are more robust than in previous years. NYSED auditors are asking very detailed questions and requesting a lot of supporting documentation that was never previously requested, including original payroll documents. The reason for the change is that the State has added several new staffers and are making efforts to improve the administration and oversight of the program. Practically, these reviews are time consuming and require a greater attention to detail in the data collection process, especially to the financial data.  

Our mandated services division is working with schools to ease the burden of these reviews and to adjust our data collection process to incorporate the new review protocols. Our advocacy staffers are working to make improvements to bigger picture items. We will keep working and advocating on school’s behalf and we will keep you posted.