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Special Education in NYC Saw Increased Funding

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The city spent over $100 million on private school tuition for special education students last year, an increase of more than $13 million over the previous year. WNYC's Beth Fertig has more.

REPORTER: Students with disabilities are entitled to attend private schools at taxpayer expense if they can prove their needs aren't being met in the public schools.

Last year, the city spent $102 million on private school tuition. The education department says it's been spending more money over the past two years because it settled a lawsuit over how long it was taking to make the payments, and is now dealing with a backlog of cases.

There are also more students receiving special education services in public schools. 162,000 were enrolled last year, according to the mayor's management report. That's an increase of 7,000 over the previous year.

The education department says more students are coming from private pre-schools and that students with disabilities are remaining in public schools longer and not dropping out as often. For WNYC I'm Beth Fertig.

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