WXXI AM News

special education

Step-by-Step Developmental Services

Even as preschool special education providers began inking contracts with Monroe County this week, the county has continued to clarify what those contracts mean.

The new agreements, set to take effect July 1, laid out new reimbursement rates for preschool special education services. The county sets these rates, and pays the providers, to ensure that children receive the services they’re entitled to under the law.

Providers of preschool special education say Monroe County went back on its promise to raise the reimbursement rate for services across the board by 15 percent. As reported by Justin Murphy in the Democrat and Chronicle on Thursday, the promise was more nuanced than it seemed at first. Representatives for the county say there are misunderstandings and misinformation.

We talk to a spokesperson for the county, as well as providers and advocates, about how the issue is impacting families who have children with special needs. Our guests:

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo proposed an increase in pay Tuesday for special education providers who haven’t seen one in almost a decade.

Dinolfo, a Republican, said the 15 percent increase is the right amount to stave off an impending shortage of speech therapists, child psychologists, counselors for parents, and other people who work in preschool special education.

“The reason we’re being so proactive is we want to make sure that we don’t put ourselves, the county, our children, in a crisis situation,” Dinolfo said.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

As the Rochester City School Board prepares to vote on a budget for the next school year, they are facing criticism for their bilingual and special education programs. A report from the Children's Agenda says even though the school district is proposing investments in these areas, there needs to be more transparency and oversight in the process.

Three years ago, Wailany Olio left her home in Puerto Rico and moved to Rochester. She brought her son, who is 8, and her daughter, who is 6.

nysed.gov

The New York State Board of Regents this week voted to expand options for special education students who struggle with academic exams.  

The Regents adopted regulations to expand the criteria under which students with disabilities may be eligible to graduate high school with a local diploma. That’s a high school diploma that has different requirements from those needed to get a Regents Diploma.

State Education Department officials say that some students with disabilities are unable to demonstrate proficiency on standardized tests even with certain accommodations.