Parents Forced to Wait Months for Approval
As we reported in our blog entry on May 3rd, the tuition reimbursement process is being stalled within the NYC Comptroller’s office. The Comptroller, Scott Stringer, is responsible for reviewing and approving all City contracts, including the Stipulation of Settlement agreements between the DOE and parents of children with special education needs. Agreements are not released to be counter-signed by the DOE until this review and approval process is complete. Unfortunately, when undertaking this duty, the Comptroller has not been adhering to the Mayor’s 2014 Policy Initiative to expedite these agreements.
In addition to our staff’s aggressive follow-up on behalf of clients left in limbo, we are working in concert with a number of other special education agencies and firms to continue to pressure the Comptroller to adhere to the policy. In response, the Comptroller’s office met earlier this month to discuss the internal review and approval process, and we are beginning to see an uptick in the number of agreements that are moving forward. We have also learned that as a result of the push-back the office has received directly from parents, the office is scheduling a second meeting at the end of this month to further discuss the delays.
We therefore urge parents to continue to contact the Comptroller’s office directly at (212) 669-3916. In doing so, you will likely be told that any response from a Comptroller’s office representative to a parent who has retained counsel is limited to a prepared statement. We advise you to indicate that your legal representative has advised you to make direct contact and to insist upon a status of your child’s case. You will need to provide your child’s date of birth, along with their nine-digit NYC ID number (also referred to as their OSIS number) which can be found on the first page of the Stipulation agreement.