Advocates for nine schools representing blind, deaf and severely physically disabled students learned that the governor and
Legislature have endorsed their programs by providing state budget support for schools serving children with low-incidence disabilities.

The 4201 Schools Association, which represents children with various low-incidence disabilities, will receive increased funding from the state for the third year in a row.

The 2017-18 enacted state budget includes $2.3 million in additional funding. For the first time, the state has also provided the statewide network of privately operated and publicly supported schools with a mechanism to receive grants for important infrastructure improvements through the Dormitory Authority’s State and Municipal Facilities Program.

Bernadette Kappen, association chair and executive director of The New York Institute for Special Education, said, “We are very pleased that the governor and state lawmakers have again acknowledged the important and unique educational needs of our students by supporting our requests for funding that keeps pace with public schools.”

Tim Kelly, association vice-chair and superintendent of St. Mary’s School for the Deaf in Buffalo, noted that the state also authorized a system by which member schools can receive funds to address health and safety issues for the schools, including funds for critical capital projects.

“Our schools have long histories and aging infrastructure. Thanks to the support of state leaders we will be eligible to pursue updates for specialized notification systems during emergencies, and essential heating and cooling systems,” Kelly said. “On behalf of our students and their families, we are grateful to the governor and Legislature for their sustained support.”

As part of the association’s advocacy efforts, many schools created and delivered video messages to state officials. Those videos are viewable here.

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 The 4201 Schools Association represents nine 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.