Oversight for Preschool Special Education
New York State’s program of special education services to prekindergarten children with learning, developmental or other disabilities clearly needs stronger oversight. The program has been beset by rising costs, conflicts of interest and outright fraud in private companies providing these services.
Late last month, Thomas DiNapoli, the state comptroller, issued three damning audits of prekindergarten service companies whose owners have been hit with criminal charges for defrauding the state. A company called Capital District Beginnings improperly diverted $800,000. The owner of a Brooklyn company called Special Education Associates Inc., who has pleaded guilty to defrauding the government, paid his wife $150,000 as his assistant executive director while she was earning $90,000 a year as a full-time professor at the City University of New York.