ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a law to increase state oversight of special education programs for preschoolers with disabilities.
The law authorizes the state comptroller to audit all of the independently run programs at least once in the next five years.
It establishes new reporting requirements for committees that place children in programs and for providers. It also authorizes the education commissioner to examine alternative reimbursement methods.
Sponsors of the legislation say limited audits have shown widespread fraud and abuse, including absentee directors, redundant costs and potential conflicts of interest where evaluators direct children into their own programs.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says fraud in the $1.3 billion program has cost taxpayers millions of dollars while depriving children of needed help.
New York has more than 300 special education providers.