Leaders of the 4201 Schools Association today presented the Award of Merit to Senator Rich Funke (Monroe and Ontario counties) at a special meeting conducted at the Rochester School for the Deaf.

The association, which is comprised of 9 member-schools throughout New York, represents students who are deaf, blind or severely physically disabled. The association honored Senator Funke for his commitment to the children served by the Association and its member schools.

“When the State budget is being considered each year in Albany, we know that we have the support of Senator Funke – he is a respected advocate for the children we serve and has led an effort with his Senate colleagues to for funding increases for our schools in his home district and across the state,” said Bernadette Kappen, Chair of the 4201 Schools Association and Executive Director of the New York Institute for Special Education.

Senator Funke is well known for his support and assistance to organizations serving people with disabilities and chronic illnesses in the Rochester area.

“Every child has the fundamental right to an education and the resources that will help them live as independently as possible. Through 4201 schools that educate deaf, blind and disabled students, children are learning skills that bring out the best in them while making our state stronger. I will continue to advocate for these schools in Albany because I see the impact of this work throughout our community. I am deeply humbled to be chosen for this year’s Award of Merit and thank leaders of 4201 schools for the prestigious honor.”

Antony McLetchie, Superintendent of the Rochester School for the Deaf said:  “The Rochester area is home to approximately 90,000 deaf or hard of hearing people.  And, while our association is primarily focused on the needs of children, Senator Funke has demonstrated that he is aware of the needs of our entire community.”

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The 4201 Schools Association represents 9 private, state-supported schools that serve blind, deaf or severely physically disabled students. The “4201 schools” are so known because of the section of New York State Education Law (§4201) that grants their funding. Students in 4201 schools receive a quality education in a supportive and challenging setting from teachers and staff with specialized training and experience. Students develop emotional, social and cognitive abilities that are crucial to their success. The schools also provide extracurricular activities, leadership opportunities and mentoring.