New York Schools For The Blind, Deaf & Physically Disabled Ask For Increased Funding To Continue Providing A Safe And Meaningful Learning Environment For Students

4201 Schools Association Met with Elected Officials and Offered Testimony to State Legislators to Advocate For the Needs of the Hundreds of Children They Serve

Click Here to View the Association’s Advocacy Document

Ten specialized schools, serving students who are blind, deaf, and severely physically disabled, are asking state leaders for increased funding necessary to continue providing the best education possible to the children they serve. The 4201 Schools Association came together virtually on January 26 and February 16 to advocate for additional funding and resources for their 10 member schools. Additionally, Dr. Bernadette Kappen, co-chair of the Association testified in front of the Fiscal Committees of the State Legislature to advocate for an increase in funding included in the Executive Budget that is commensurate with increases in Foundation Aid as well as what has been provided to other special education sectors.

Dr. Bernadette Kappen, Co-Chair of the 4201 Schools Association, and the Executive Director of the New York Institute for Special Education said: “Maintaining student access to high-quality education and related services is at the very heart of our mission. Our responsibility is to ensure every student is able to thrive in a safe and healthy learning environment, and by providing the least restrictive classroom experience and most comprehensive education, our students will continue to succeed. Our requests for additional funding and resources are necessary for the continued success of all our children.” 

The Association’s 10 member schools, which serve approximately 1,500 children with low-incidence disabilities has identified four priorities, which include:

Continued state support and resources for the 4201 Schools. The schools for the blind, deaf, and physically disabled request the Legislature’s approval of the sustained financial support of the 4201 Schools, as included in the FY 2022-23 Executive Budget. Additionally, the Association asks for an increase commensurate with Foundation Aid and other special education sector schools, approximately $5.8 million.

The Association supports the $11.6 million included in the Assembly’s one-house budget proposal to support our member schools.

Establishment of a Fiscal Reserve Fund, allowing our 10 member schools to prepare for variances or contingencies for emergencies, planning or adapting to student needs throughout the school year. The recent pandemic has highlighted the need to give school leaders tools to adapt flexibly, quickly, and in the best interests of their students while maintaining fiscal stewardship of their operations.

A bill has been introduced to authorize the 4201 Schools to maintain reserve funds (S.8314 Mannion/A.9360 Benedetto). The Association supports the establishment of Fiscal Reserve Funds, included in the Senate’s one-house budget proposal.

Investment in Our Workforce. Salaries for the specially qualified staff at our 10 member schools consistently lag behind those in public schools. The 4201 Schools Association requests a new initiative to increase salaries for our teachers and professional staff. We request $30 million over three years to incrementally increase salaries to better align with public school districts.

The Association supports the $30 million investment over three years included in the Senate’s one-house budget proposal to help our schools retain their skilled staff.

Transportation to and from school for our students, should be consistent and reliable, specifically for our schools in the greater New York City area. Schools have been informed two years in a row that they would not be provided bus transportation at the start of their calendar year, which is provided to the Department of Education months in advance. We appreciate the Legislature’s support on this issue and thank individual Legislators who reached out on our behalf in 2021. We ask legislators from across the state to work with us to ensure this does not happen for the third year in a row.

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Throughout budget negotiations and the legislative session, a series of videos is being introduced on social media and the Association’s website outlining the comprehensive and quality education students receive while attending schools that are members of the 4201 Schools Association.

Visit the Association’s website to watch more than 25 videos featuring students, parents, alumni, and teachers from member schools.

The members of the 4201 Schools Association are:

The 4201 Schools Association’s mission is to enhance and advocate for the education and future of New York’s children with low-incidence disabilities. Each school has its own board of directors and receives financial support for operations and programming from the New York State Department of Education. There are 10 private, state-supported 4201 schools across New York State that are members of the Association.