Members of ARISE and PIE call for increased funding for school accessibility in the 2019 City budget
On May 15, members of the ARISE Coalition and Parents for Inclusive Education (PIE) wrote to Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council, urging them to ensure that the final FY 2019 budget includes the City Council’s recommendation for an additional $125 million for school accessibility projects.
The 2015-2019 Capital Plan allocates only $100 million over five years for improving school accessibility and $28 million for ensuring that a number of schools can serve as accessible emergency shelters. Together, that represents less than one percent of the total funding in the Plan. Furthermore, the City has already spent the vast majority of this funding, leaving little, if any, funding for accessibility projects in the coming year. New York City cannot be the "fairest big city in America" until students, families, and teachers with physical disabilities have equitable access to the City’s schools.
Several members of the ARISE Coalition sent a letter today to key state legislators urging them to ensure that the final state budget for this year does not include the Executive Budget proposal to reduce funding for summer special education programs. The letter laid out our concerns [PDF] that reducing the State contribution for these important programs would be very burdensome to school districts and would put children’s summer services at risk by serving as a disincentive to including 12-month services in Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) despite the demonstrated need for these services. Those signing the letter specifically urged the State to reject the proposal.
The ARISE Coalition and Parents for Inclusive Education are seeking students with physical disabilities in 7th through 11th grades to join a Student Advisory Panel on Accessibility in NYC Public Schools. We are reaching out to students with physical disabilities interested in working with us to identify specific concerns and make recommendations with regard to improving access and school culture for students with a range of physical disabilities. Through this work, students will have the opportunity to further their knowledge about how city government works, meet with key city officials and staff, and potentially speak with press about the panel's concerns and recommendations.
Students interested in joining the panel should complete the application by February 28, 2018. If selected, students will be asked to commit to monthly meetings during the school year through June 2019.
Thanks to all of you who were able to join us at last week’s panel discussion and speak-out on school accessibility. Our excellent student panel (Joshua Stern, Aaron Philip, Emma Albert, and Abraham Weitzman), Dayniah Manderson, who moderated the panel, and April Coughlin, who shared information and data on the need to empower students with mobility needs all provided valuable information and insight. Download copies of the factsheet [PDF] and powerpoint [PDF] given out that evening to help families and individuals make sure they know their rights in this arena.