Bill S5568A-2013

Relates to special education services and programs for preschool children with disabilities

Relates to special education services and programs for preschool children with disabilities; audits by the state comptroller of the expenses reported by program providers of special education services for preschool children with disabilities.

Details

Actions

  • Dec 18, 2013: SIGNED CHAP.545
  • Dec 6, 2013: DELIVERED TO GOVERNOR
  • Jun 20, 2013: returned to senate
  • Jun 20, 2013: passed assembly
  • Jun 20, 2013: ordered to third reading rules cal.540
  • Jun 20, 2013: substituted for a7302a
  • Jun 18, 2013: referred to ways and means
  • Jun 18, 2013: DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • Jun 18, 2013: PASSED SENATE
  • Jun 18, 2013: ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1458
  • Jun 18, 2013: COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO RULES
  • Jun 11, 2013: PRINT NUMBER 5568A
  • Jun 11, 2013: AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO EDUCATION
  • May 21, 2013: REFERRED TO EDUCATION

Meetings

Calendars

Votes

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5568A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to special education services and programs for preschool children with disabilities; to amend the education law, in relation to audits by the state comptroller of the expenses reported by program providers of special education services for preschool children with disabilities; and directing the department of education to study alternative systems of reimbursement methodologies and monitoring protocols for the tuition and maintenance components of special education services programs for preschool children with disabilities

PURPOSE:

This Legislation would provide for greater oversight and improve the quality of special education preschool provider programs in this State.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill amends Subdivision 4 of Section 4410 of the Education Law to establish that if a committee on preschool education recommends placing a child in an approved program for preschool children with disabilities if such program had previously conducted an evaluation of such child, the committee shall indicate in writing that such placement is an appropriate one for the child.

Section 2 of the bill amends Subdivision 9 of Section 4410 of the Education Law to require a provider of special education services or programs to certify as part of its application that its executive director or person performing the duties of a chief executive officer: (i) meets the criteria to be an executive director established by the Commissioner of Education; and (ii) if paid as a full time executive director, he or she is employed in a full time, full year position and shall not engage in activity that would interfere with or impair such executive director's ability to carry out and perform his or her duties, responsibilities and obligations.

Section 3 of this bill adds a new Section 4410-c of the Education Law requiring the Comptroller, within such funds as are made available for such purpose, to audit the expenses reported to the Department of Education by every special education services program provider for preschool children with disabilities in this state. Pursuant to a plan developed by the Comptroller, such audits shall be conducted in a manner as to cause every provider to be audited by the Comptroller at least once by March 31, 2018.

Section 4 of this bill directs the Commissioner of Education to prepare a comprehensive study of alternative systems of reimbursement methodologies and monitoring protocols for the tuition and maintenance components of special education services programs for preschool children with disabilities.

The results of the study shall be published no later than one year following the effective date of this act and shall be submitted to the Governor, the State Comptroller, the Temporary President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly.

Section 5 of the bill provides that this act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that sections 1 and 2 of this act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

New bill.

JUSTIFICATION:

New York State needs to strengthen the oversight of the providers of publicly funded special education services to preschool children, and improve transparency and accountability in the administration of these services. Audits of such providers by the Office of the State Comptroller have revealed widespread fraud and abuse. Such abuse deprives children with special education needs of the public resources intended for them and threatens the existence of these special education programs. The frequency of these audits needs to be increased. This legislation would require the Comptroller to audit the expenses reported to the Department of Education by every special education services program provider for preschool children with disabilities in this state at least once by March 31, 2018.

Preschool special education programs require and deserve the full time and attention of their executive directors. Audits have questioned the work products of absentee executive directors and/or identified redundant costs for executive direction. This bill would require a provider to certify that it meets certain criteria.

Additionally, audits by the Comptroller have revealed the potential for conflicts of interest when the program provider that performs the assessment of a student with special education needs then places the child with its own program. An audit determined that 83 percent of selected preschool children were placed in programs of providers who also evaluated the children. Before placing a child in a program that has performed an assessment of a student with special education needs, this bill would require the committee to indicate in writing that such placement is most appropriate for the child.

Finally, there are many inequities in the current system of funding special education services program providers for preschool children with disabilities. To possibly remedy these inequities, this legislation would direct the Department of Education to study alternative systems of reimbursement methodologies and monitoring protocols for the tuition and maintenance components of special education services programs for preschool children with disabilities.

These problems and potential problems should be remedied so that taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately on the children in need of such services.

The Comptroller urges passage of this legislation.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

Savings to State and local taxpayers.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that sections 1 and 2 of this act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5568--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 21, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. FLANAGAN -- (at request of the State Comptroller) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to special education services and programs for preschool children with disabilities; to amend the education law, in relation to audits by the state comp- troller of the expenses reported by program providers of special education services for preschool children with disabilities; and directing the department of education to study alternative systems of reimbursement methodologies and monitoring protocols for the tuition and maintenance components of special education services programs for preschool children with disabilities THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph c of subdivision 4 of section 4410 of the educa- tion law, as amended by chapter 474 of the laws of 1996, is amended to read as follows: c. The documentation of the evaluation shall include all assessment reports and a summary report of the findings of the evaluation on a form prescribed by the commissioner including a detailed statement of the preschool child's individual needs. The summary report shall not make reference to any specific provider of special services or programs. In addition, with the consent of the parents, approved evaluators and committees shall be provided with the most recent evaluation report for a child in transition from programs and services provided pursuant to title two-a of article twenty-five of the public health law. Nothing shall prohibit an approved evaluator or the committee from reviewing other assessments or evaluations to determine if such assessments or evaluations fulfill the requirements of the regulations of the commis- sioner. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provisions of this section, the
committee, in its discretion, may obtain an evaluation of the child from another approved evaluator prior to making any recommendation that would place a child in the approved program that conducted the [initial] eval- uation of the child. IF THE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS PLACING A CHILD IN AN APPROVED PROGRAM THAT ALSO CONDUCTED AN EVALUATION OF SUCH CHILD IT SHALL INDICATE IN WRITING THAT SUCH PLACEMENT IS AN APPROPRIATE ONE FOR THE CHILD. IN ADDITION, THE COMMITTEE SHALL PROVIDE NOTICE TO THE COMMISSIONER OF SUCH RECOMMENDATION. S 2. Subdivision 9 of section 4410 of the education law is amended by adding a new paragraph g to read as follows: G. AS PART OF AN APPLICATION SUBMITTED PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH A OF THIS SUBDIVISION, A PROVIDER OF SPECIAL SERVICES OR PROGRAMS SHALL CERTIFY PURSUANT TO REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE COMMISSIONER THAT IT WILL TAKE MEASURES TO ENSURE ITS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OR PERSON PERFORMING THE DUTIES OF A CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER: (I) MEETS THE CRITERIA ESTABLISHED BY THE COMMISSIONER TO BE AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR; AND (II) IF PAID AS A FULL TIME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HE OR SHE IS EMPLOYED IN A FULL TIME, FULL YEAR POSITION AND SHALL NOT ENGAGE IN ACTIVITY THAT WOULD INTERFERE WITH OR IMPAIR SUCH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S ABILITY TO CARRY OUT AND PERFORM HIS OR HER DUTIES, RESPONSIBILITIES AND OBLIGATIONS. S 3. The education law is amended by adding a new section 4410-c to read as follows: S 4410-C. AUDITS OF SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES PROGRAM PROVIDERS FOR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES. 1. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY AND WITHIN SUCH FUNDS AS ARE MADE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH PURPOSE, THE COMPTROLLER SHALL AUDIT THE EXPENSES REPORTED TO THE DEPARTMENT BY EVERY PROGRAM PROVIDER OF SPECIAL EDUCA- TION SERVICES FOR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES IN THE STATE. PURSUANT TO A PLAN DEVELOPED BY THE COMPTROLLER, SUCH AUDITS SHALL BE CONDUCTED IN A MANNER SO AS TO CAUSE EVERY SUCH PROVIDER TO BE AUDITED BY THE COMPTROLLER AT LEAST ONCE BY MARCH THIRTY-FIRST, TWO THOUSAND EIGHTEEN. 2. A. THE PRIORITY AND FREQUENCY OF SUCH AUDITS, AND ANY AUDITS CONDUCTED THEREAFTER, SHALL BE BASED UPON A RISK ASSESSMENT PROCESS CONDUCTED BY THE COMPTROLLER WHICH MAY INCLUDE INVESTIGATIONS OF ALLEGED IMPROPRIETIES, PREVIOUS AUDIT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, OR OTHER FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE INDICATORS. B. IN UNDERTAKING SUCH AUDITS THE COMPTROLLER'S REVIEW SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, EXAMINING, AUDITING AND EVALUATING RELEVANT FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS AND RECORDS OF PROVIDERS FOR THE PARTICULAR YEARS INCLUDED WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE AUDIT. C. ALL AUDITS SHALL INCLUDE ANY APPROPRIATE FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDA- TIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER REGARDING THE PROPRIETY OF THE AMOUNTS REPORTED AS EXPENSES TO THE DEPARTMENT AS WELL AS ANY OTHER FINDINGS DEEMED APPROPRIATE WITH RESPECT TO THE PUBLIC FUNDING OF THE SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES. D. THE COMPTROLLER SHALL REFER ANY FINDINGS OF FRAUD, ABUSE OR OTHER CONDUCT CONSTITUTING A CRIME THAT ARE UNCOVERED DURING THE COURSE OF AN AUDIT, AS WARRANTED TO AN APPROPRIATE AGENCY OR AGENCIES POSSESSING JURISDICTION. E. THE FINAL AUDIT REPORT RESULTING FROM AUDITS PERFORMED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL BE POSTED TO THE DEPARTMENT'S INTERNET WEBSITE AND OTHERWISE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC UPON REQUEST FOR A PERIOD OF AT LEAST FIVE YEARS. FURTHERMORE, THE AUDITED PROVIDER SHALL BE REQUIRED TO POST THE FINAL AUDIT REPORT ON ITS INTERNET WEBSITE, IF ANY, FOR A PERI- OD OF FIVE YEARS.
F. THE COMPTROLLER SHALL INFORM AND ADVISE THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGIS- LATURE IN DECEMBER OF EACH YEAR REGARDING ITS AUDITS OF EXPENSES REPORTED TO THE DEPARTMENT BY PROGRAM PROVIDERS OF SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES FOR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES CONDUCTED DURING THE PRECEDING TWELVE MONTHS AND REGARDING ANY OTHER PERTINENT INFORMATION THE COMPTROLLER DEEMS APPROPRIATE. S 4. The legislature finds that special education services programs for preschool children with disabilities have been susceptible to fraud and abuse. Therefore, the New York state department of education is hereby directed to conduct a comprehensive study of alternative systems of reimbursement methodologies and monitoring protocols for the tuition and maintenance components of special education services programs for preschool children with disabilities. The results of the study shall be published no later than one year following the effective date of this act. A copy of the results of such study shall be submitted to the governor, the state comptroller, the temporary president of the senate and the speaker of the assembly. S 5. This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that sections one and two of this act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law; provided, further, that effective immediately the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for implementation of this act on its effective date is authorized to be made on or before such effective date.

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