May 27, 2022
OPWDD Releases New Draft of 5.07 Strategic Plan
Today, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) released the much anticipated revised 2023-2027 Draft Strategic Plan. New York State is required under Mental Hygiene Law 5.07 to develop a comprehensive five-year plan that defines and adequately resources supports and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). OPWDD’s last plan under this requirement was adopted in 2012 and expired in 2016.

In the announcement, OPWDD Commissioner Kerri Neifeld stated, “This draft plan presents solutions to the critical issues that our stakeholders have told us need to be addressed, such as strengthening the workforce, providing new housing options, better supporting people where they are, exploring new support opportunities, improving existing options and supporting people to find employment and meaningful day activities.”

In our July 1, 2021 Advocacy Update, we included official comments submitted by The Arc New York on the previous draft. The full post, which includes a brief summary and comments, can be found here

The Arc New York looks forward to reviewing and commenting on this draft and hopes many of our previous recommendations were considered. You can access the full plan here, and a plain language summary here.

Statewide hearings will be held on June 8 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM and June 9 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.
The Arc New York & Stakeholders Advocate for Special Education Funding
The Arc New York and nine other leading special education advocates sent a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul this week regarding steps that should be taken to ensure our 853 and 4410 schools receive and retain the 11% increase promised by the governor and included in the FY23 budget. In particular, the coalition advocated for two pieces of legislation, explained in greater detail within the letter.

A.10191 Benedetto/S.9132 Mannion amends the FY23 enacted budget to ensure that the calculation of the amount authorized to be retained by a school or program is conducted prior to certain applications of the methodology.

A.10192 Benedetto/S.9134 Mannion authorizes the issuance of interim “plus” rates.

This latest advocacy push for 853 and 4410 school funding follows The Arc New York’s letter to New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr., and NYS Education Department (SED) Commissioner Betty Rosa detailed in our April 29 update.

In December, Governor Hochul promised a historic investment in special education of $240 million. However, the 11% cost-of-living adjustment was not proactively included in the FY23 budget for 853 and 4410 schools, and can now only be achieved through administrative actions. The Arc New York will continue to remind the governor of her commitment and ensure that these critical investments and policy initiatives come to fruition this year.
Urgent Call to Action: Special Education School Funding
In addition to the aforementioned letter to Governor Hochul, we previously shared The Arc New York's advocacy efforts in support of funding for special education in our April 29 Advocacy Update. Now, we are taking this message directly to Governor Hochul through your grassroots action! We're calling on you to join the fight and send a message to the Governor through our one-click advocacy campaign.

Last year, Governor Hochul vetoed legislation which would have provided special education schools (4410, 853 & Special Act schools) funding parity with the yearly public-school increase. In her veto message, she promised a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 11% for the 2022-23 school year, which was reiterated in the Executive Budget proposal. 

However, due to the current tuition funding structure, the final budget language, and disagreements between the State Education Department (SED) and Division of Budget (DOB), most schools will not be able receive this promised 11% increase. We cannot allow administrative gridlock to block this much needed funding.

Take action and urge the governor and the DOB to find a solution that keeps the promise to our special education schools for an 11% ($240 million) increase effective July 1, 2022. New York’s most vulnerable children deserve it!
Final Congressional and NYS Senate Maps Ordered
State Supreme Court Justice Patrick McAllister ordered into place the final redistricting maps for New York State Congressional and State Senate districts, as issued by Court-appointed Special Master Dr. Jonathan Cervas late last Friday. We previously noted this evolution in our May 20 and September 24 updates. 

Primaries for U.S. House and state Senate races were pushed back to August 23 to account for the changes. Barring any further court decisions on Assembly district lines, the primary election for the statewide offices and state Assembly races will take place on June 28.

While there are questions about prospective candidates in particular areas, the map will aid with comparisons of current and future district lines. Additional information can be found in this article by Jon Campbell.
Want to do More?
Visit The Arc New York Advocacy Center for more ways to take action, including campaigns to support federal funding, employment opportunities, and our dedicated workforce. You can also find tools and resources to help you be a stronger advocate for New Yorkers with disabilities.

This and all advocacy updates are archived on The Arc New York website for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
Contact: Philip Aydinian, Director of Governmental Affairs 
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