The New York State Board of Regents recently proposed an Amendment of Section 119.1 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Relating to the Calculation of Aid Attributable to Students with Disabilities Served in Charter Schools. While the proposed amendment contains several items of interest, most notably it would eliminate special education program levels for aid attributable in favor of a straight multiplier calculation for students with disabilities served in charter schools.

This is the single largest change to public charter school funding in many years and will impact every school in the state. 

NYSED is currently accepting public comments on the amendment through Jan. 29, 2024. The Association is encouraging all schools to familiarize themselves with the proposed amendment and participate in the public comment process to share how what the amendment says–and does not say–will affect special education students throughout the state.

To help prepare schools for the public comment process, NYCSA has prepared a sample document that can be customized for submission.

While the sample document provided in the link above can serve as a standalone template, we encourage schools to personalize the letter for your unique organization:

  • Talk about your school’s specific SPED program/student profile/proportion of students in each service bracket.
  • Share information about specific programming or support initiatives your school provides.
  • If you are familiar with the projected change in aid for your school under this proposal, add it in.
  • If there are bullets or sentiments that do not necessarily resonate as much with your school community, feel free to remove them.

We encourage not only school leaders but also board members, special education administrators, school staff and other any public charter school stakeholders to submit public comment on this proposed change.

The more we can tell the unique stories of our schools in light of this proposed amendment, the better.

More about the proposed amendment

While the proposed change to the calculation of aid attributable would in theory result in an additional funding for public charter school students with disabilities throughout the state, it is important to note that not all schools will see an increase in per-pupil aid. In fact, we anticipate that some schools will actually see a decrease in aid–particularly those schools outside of New York City with a large population of high-needs students (those students receiving special education services for more than 60 percent of their instructional time).

In addition, and perhaps more importantly, the amendment, as proposed, does not address a broader issue negatively affecting our state’s public charter school students currently receiving special education services.

New York State Education Law requires districts and public charter schools to collaborate in order to ensure the provision of student Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), but the lack of concrete guidelines or regulations from NYSED has meant that there has never been an effective standard. Public charter schools are routinely not receiving requested related services, particularly recently. As a result, public charter school students are not getting the services they need and are entitled to by law.

Implementation of the proposed change urgently requires that NYSED promulgate guidance or regulations regarding the process by which proportionality is determined. There is a very real risk that without additional guidance on implementation of this proposal could actually make the situation worse should districts decide to withhold even more funds as a result of the introduction of a new aid calculation.

To learn more about the proposed Amendment of Section 119.1 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Relating to the Calculation of Aid Attributable to Students with Disabilities Served in Charter Schools, please visit the NYCSA Resource Center to watch a replay of two recent webinars on the topic.