1 kid costing 100G
- Last Updated: 4:50 AM, July 8, 2012
- Posted: 1:31 AM, July 8, 2012
INSIDE CITY HALL
The Department of Education will spend nearly $100,000 next year to transport a single student with severe disabilities to and from school.
The student has debilitating conditions that require an advanced life-support ambulance, specifically one operated by Park Avenue Ambulance, which will be paid as much as $96,100 to cover his rides during the 10-month school year.
The cost is prorated, so if the student can’t make it to class, that day’s charge is waived.
Education officials had offered a substitute ambulance service that would have cost $200 a day less, but the child’s mother filed for an impartial hearing where an arbitrator ruled in her favor after hearing testimony from the family’s doctor and local school officials who were on her side.
A top DOE official also met with the mother and came away convinced that the more expensive route was the way to go, if only on purely humanitarian grounds.
“This is a very unique circumstance,” said one source. “This particular [ambulance] crew knows how to handle this kid. This kid’s really sick.”
Officials said the student has been receiving ambulance services through the DOE since 2005. In 2010, when summer school was included, the contract was for $161,200.
It’s only one case, but demonstrates how the city is caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to special education, which is governed largely by state and federal mandates that the city has no choice but to follow, regardless of cost.
A student’s “individual educational plan” dictates the services he or she will receive, and that includes transportation.
Officials said about 100 disabled students receive ambulance services. Some students are transported to specialized instruction outside the five boroughs.
The Independent Budget Office reported that transportation costs for the 55,000 or so students in special ed have climbed from $712 million in 2010 to $805 million projected for the upcoming year, which includes summer school and associated costs such as insurance.