Back in June, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli of New York, issued three audits detailing millions of dollars in fraud by private companies that provided special education services to preschool children with learning disabilities. The findings are so serious that a recommendation has been made for the legislature to create a permanent audit division within the comptroller’s office and rethink the way’s the way the state delivers these services.
The findings evident are extremely disturbing for three primary reasons. One, they occurred at the expense of the most needy. Second, they occurred over five years ago while the same companies worked with special needs children programs financed through other state agencies. Three, more than a hint, a politically powerful special education lobby has been able to “stonewall’ reform for years, costing the taxpayers of the state millions of dollars.
The audits findings reflect on services provided in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Troy, New York. Additional information can be found on the comptroller’s web site, Audit Reports 2010-S-31, 2010-S-32 and 2011-S-1. Rather than more auditors, I suggest the use of “padlocks” in the public square.