While most school-age students with disabilities in New York receive their educational services from public school districts, preschool special education services are predominantly provided by private providers. As reported by the State Education Department in January, 80,000 students are enrolled served by over 300 providers at a cost of about $1.4 billion to the State and its local governments.
In 2017, the Office of the State Comptroller completed 23 provider audits of expenses resulting in $12.5 million in disallowances. One audit was interrupted when the agency involved abruptly closed for business.
In the past, OSC’s audits of expenses submitted to SED by certain special education providers identified troubling pattern of mismanagement, waste and even fraud by numerous private providers of preschool special education services, including but not limited to inaccurate and inappropriate self-reported program costs, as well as ineffective program monitoring and oversight. As a result, children needing special education services have been shortchanged by those private providers who have used public funds inappropriately.
For specific details use www.osc.state.ny.us/audits/special-reports.htm and prompt on “Preschool Special Education Audit Initiative 2017 Annual Report.” Five (5) audits involved Nassau County providers.