4201 SCHOOLS ASSOCIATION DELIVERS TESTIMONY DURING BUDGET HEARING

Dr. Bernadette Kappen, Chair of the 4201 Schools Association and Executive Director of the New York Institute for Special Education and Tim Kelly, Vice Chair of the 4201 Schools Association and Superintendent of St. Mary’s School for the deaf came to Albany today to ask the Legislature’s Fiscal Committees for additional funding for schools serving students who are deaf, blind and severely physically disabled throughout the state. The private state-supported schools serve children with low incidence disabilities

The Association thanked the Legislature for their continued investment in the special needs of the students at 4201 schools and identified three areas in which funding is crucial for success in this budget year.

Perhaps the most important issue for 4201 schools is ensuring parity funding with the state’s public schools. Kappen and Kelly urged the Legislature to consider 4201 schools when discussing any additional funding for public schools.

“We recommend any increase be provided directly to the schools and be considered ongoing operational support,” said Kelly. “A direct increase also ensures that local school districts are not adversely impacted.”

Another critical need for all 4201 schools is funding for capital projects put off in order to focus on more immediate needs for students. Some schools date back to the 1800s, so the Association recommends the investment of $5 million in support of short and long-term deferred maintenance.

“Our facilities are aging and the needs of our students are changing,” explained Kappen. “The health and safety of our students and staff is critical. An investment would allow our schools to upgrade electrical services, plumbing, or lighting, update fire and safety equipment, or make classroom modifications to meet student needs.”

Lastly, the Association is requesting the opportunity to engage existing Dormitory Authority authorization for another series of long-term capital projects that would improve the health and safety for all 4201 students and staff. These important capital projects involve the upgrade of major systems that serve academic buildings and residential   dormitories and simply are too large to be addressed as repair, they are capital investments

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