Action Needed: ‘Special Education Waiver’ in Draft NYS Budget

Advocates for Children put out an important action alert yesterday in response to the 2017-18 draft executive budget. The draft budget includes a provision that allows local school districts to apply to the state for a waiver from state laws that protect the rights of special education students. (Advocates for Children’s full response to the draft budget is available on their website.)

Advocates for Children urges New Yorkers who care about special education to contact both their State Senator and State Assembly Member and express opposition to the special education waiver in the governor’s draft budget. You can find contact information for your State Assembly Member at and your State Senator at

Below is Advocates for Children’s sample script for your call. When you contact your elected officials, always make sure to say that you are a constituent residing in their district. Provide your residential address to the person who takes your call or in any voicemail message you leave or any email you send. This is how legislators know that you are a potential voter whose concerns they should be responsive to.

Sample script:

My name is [your name] and I am a [parent of a student with a disability/teacher/concerned constituent]. I am calling regarding the state budget. I want to make sure the budget does not include the special education waiver in Governor Cuomo's budget proposal. The special education waiver would allow school districts to take away important rights for students with disabilities, and I hope you will reject this proposal. Thank you.