The New York Times reveals today some of the findings of an ongoing audit of New York State’s privatized program to provide special education services for prekindergarten children Thomas P, DiNapoli, the Comptroller of the state of New York, has found evidence of massive fraud. New York’s preschool special education program is a $2 billion system that relies mostly on private contractors, many of them for-profit operators. New York spends more to provide these services than any other state in the nation.
Here are key excerpts:
“The owners of a Bronx company that employs teachers for disabled toddlers used thousands of dollars in government funds to fix up a weekend getaway in the Poconos, state auditors found. A Brooklyn company in the same program, which provides treatment for prekindergarten special education students, billed taxpayers for his wife’s $150,000 salary as his assistant director when she was a full-time professor at the City University of New York, the auditors said.”
“And the owners of an upstate company improperly diverted more than $800,000 to pay, among other things, rent and interest to themselves and the full-time salary of an executive who lived in South Carolina and seldom worked.”
A valuable story to read and ponder as our nation’s policymakers are pushing more and more districts and states to privatize the management and control of their public schools.