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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Dr. Susan Erber

Dr. Susan Erber, Superintendent of District 75, the centralized special education district which serves students with severe and profound disabilities, testified this week in CFE v. State of New York.

Dr. Erber addressed the numerous challenges facing students with disabilities and the resources needed to meet their needs. She testified about “Mandate Relief:” the reduction in state aid given to New York City in the mid-1990’s which resulted in increased special education class sizes.

Dr. Erber testified about the lack of physical therapists, occupational therapists and other related services, as well as the waiting list for such services. According to Erber, there is a shortage of board providers because the salary rate for therapists who work full-time for the Board of Education is significantly lower than the salary rate for agency or independent providers.

Dr. Erber testified that many of District 75’s schools are not fully accessible to students with disabilities. As a result, there is a lack of sufficient space to carry out many educational activities, and many of these students cannot access the gyms and even the libraries of these facilities.

Dr. Erber spoke of the progress District 75 has made in placing severely disabled students in inclusion programs, and she pointed out that contrary to defendants’ assumptions, proper inclusion is more costly, not less costly, than separate class programs. She also said that the new federal and state laws that will require most students with disabilities to meet the Regents’ Learning Standards can potentially lead to substantial gains in achievement by disabled students — but New York City does not currently have sufficient resources to provide its students with disabilities the instructional opportunities they need to meet the standards.

Testimony given on January 4 & 7, 2000

Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE Litigation CFE v. State of New York
In 2006, after 13 years in the Courts, the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the state’s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. more >