Education officials walk back Banks’ comments on private school tuition – Chalkbeat New York

by | Sep 21, 2022 | Education

Facing fierce pushback after Chancellor David Banks said the city is spending too much money on private schools for students with disabilities, top education officials walked those comments back during a Wednesday City Council hearing.“I can assure you that the chancellor’s comments were not meant in the way that they were presented and he has apologized in many forums about that,” Christina Foti, the department’s special education chief, said during a City Council oversight hearing after multiple lawmakers raised the issue.Last month, Banks told parent leaders that “folks have figured out how to game this system,” referring to private school payments that have ballooned to over $1 billion in recent years. He suggested the city could avoid budget cuts if more of that money was redirected to public schools.“We’d be able to pay for all that after-school programming, all of those kinds of things. This is money that’s going out the back door every single day,” Banks said.

Those statements sparked intense and swift pushback from parents, advocates, and some lawmakers, who pointed out that students with disabilities have a legal right to a private placement if the city is unable to serve them appropriately in a public school. It’s also not clear that the city would save money by serving those students in public schools without reducing services.Banks’ comments, first reported by Chalkbeat, prompted multiple City Council members to grill officials about the department’s plans on Wednesday. And it also sparked an unusual …

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