FYI: People who are not NY residents who send this letter will be disregarded. However, they are welcome to attend the rally on March 10th since numbers of attendees are crucial to be visible at Albany capital city.
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This letter is intended for Senate and Assembly members.
However, you can easily modify this letter that is to be addressed to Governor Andrew Cuomo and drop your messages into the form on this Web page:
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Remember, you have until March 2nd. Every letter counts and may make a difference.
Rochester School for the Deaf was used as a sample. You may select any schools from the list from the 4201 schools @ http://4201schoolsassociation.wordpress.com/10-2/
Dear Senator/Assemblymember XXXXXXXXX,
I write to ask you to oppose a proposal in Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget, which would have a devastating impact on ROCHESTER SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF. The Governor’s budget would shift the entire cost of educating children at our school to local school districts, abandoning the nearly 200 year tradition of state support for the education of children who are blind, deaf or severely physically disabled.
The Executive Budget proposes a number of changes which are of great concern to me, including:
· To alter the appointment process for children to attend these schools,
· To significantly change the system by which these schools are funded, replacing it with a rate setting methodology used by other special education schools that delays payments for months (or even years!) – leading some to close and others to accrue tremendous debt.
· This rate system would be paid for entirely by the home school district of the disabled child.
· Changing the evaluation process so that parents would no longer be able to take their child directly to a 4201 (state-supported) school, like ROCHESTER SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF, for an evaluation. Under this proposal, parents would be required to go through the local school district, which would assume total responsibility for evaluating the child’s level of educational needs.
I am very concerned about the damage this proposed change would have on deaf, blind and physically disabled students. ROCHESTER SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF, a 4201 school, is well-respected in our community. The teachers and all other school staff have the professional knowledge and expertise to communicate directly with each student, without an interpreter or a third-party aide. If school districts are forced to take on the responsibIlity of evaluating each of these students, direct communication with students would very likely be lost. Evaluating children indirectly through interpreters – for whom there are no minimum quality standards or qualifications in our state – is not effective or efficient, especially in determining a child’s degree of disability. There are enormous fiscal implications if local schools were forced to hire outside professionals, as well as the practical challenge of actually finding qualified professionals in many areas of the state.
The appropriate educational evaluation and placement for deaf, blind and physically disabled children must be the priority. The 4201 School system has proven to be highly effective; these proposals jeopardize the education of New York’s students who are deaf, blind or physically disabled and their future prospects for achievement.
Please oppose Governor Cuomo’s attack on our school!
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Thank you very much for your participation. Remember, Deaf/4201 students need you! Let's make noises across New York!