NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Activist groups now have the support of city Comptroller Scott Stringer in their fight for special needs children.
He spoke Sunday to a meeting of Manhattan Together to talk about the Department of Education’s Special Education Student Information System (SESIS) program, which is supposed to help special needs students but has cost the department on overtime and Medicaid reimbursements, which are supposed to be used for the services the DOE provides.
“I pledge to you today to continue to do the work of investigation why the Department of Education can’t seem ready and able to fix a computer,” Stringer said.
Parent Hope Baker says the system’s inefficiency almost affected services for her son, who has Tourette syndrome. She was urged to take her son out of special education to make more resources available to other children.
“If SESIS did, if the reimbursements actually happened, they might not have been asking me to possibly think about classifying him,” she told 1010 WINS’ Samantha Liebman.
Special education parents like Baker say the city is basically throwing their money away by not fixing the data system.
“That is money that could go toward services for professionals who can add to, you know, to be added to school so that all the children get what they need,” Baker said.
Reverend Getulio Cruz, who is part of the group Metro-Industrial Areas Foundation, says they just want answers from the DOE on how they plan on fixing it.
“Bill de Blasio is putting in money, and that is good, but we want to see how that money is going to be used,” Rev. Cruz said. “They’re just throwing money at the problem and you’re not saying how that money is going to be allocated.”
1010 WINS reports the DOE says they are working to fix the system.