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  • Agreement in decades-old lawsuit looks to speed up special education processes

    Jul 19, 2023

    Parents who are not satisfied with their special needs child's education can request an impartial hearing — but the city has routinely failed to promptly put in place the hearing officers' orders.
    Spectrum News NY1

    NY1 | “For a number of families who don’t have the ability and the resources to front the money and essentially give a loan to the DOE, without interest and for an unspecified amount of time, it means that those students aren’t able to get the services that are being ordered for them,” Rebecca Shore, director of litigation at Advocates for Children, said.

    If they pay out of pocket and await reimbursement, the cost can be staggering.

    “We’ve had families that have had to take out mortgages on their home, take second lines of credit,” Shore said.

    It’s the focus of a lawsuit that was initially filed by the organization Advocates for Children in 2003. In a 2007 settlement, the Education Department agreed that it would implement hearing orders within 35 days.

    As of this year, the city is failing to meet that standard 97% of the time.