Yonkers — With a rise in the number of students with disabilities, Yonkers City Council President Mike Khader is taking initiative in tackling the vast amount of special needs issues in the community. Less than one month into his administration, Khader announced that he will be forming the Children with Special Needs Advisory Board.
Yonkers is currently struggling with limited resources for special education. The Yonkers Public School District currently has more than 4,000 students with disabilities, totaling about 16% of the student population.
These staggering numbers, in addition to feedback from concerned parents and educators, indicate a dire need for necessary commitment to providing substantial resources for improving the quality of life and education for students with special needs.
“This is an issue that hits close to home for me. I know how critical it is to increase awareness and funding for special needs programs, said City Council President Mike Khader. “Parents are their child’s strongest advocate, so we need to make sure that our most vulnerable are always looked after. This advisory board will serve as an apparatus for change, giving a voice to those who need it most.”
The Board will be comprised of a diverse combination of parents of children with special needs as well as subject matter experts in the fields of education, psychology, medicine and relevant professions.
The Board will consist of up to nine members. Members of the board will serve for two-year terms and responsibilities will include:
- Identifying the imminent special education concerns within Yonkers Public schools
- Analyzing special needs data
- Gathering feedback from the community
- Brainstorming ideas for potential solutions and effective policies to improve special education funding and resources
- Raising awareness to help eliminate the stigma attached to disabilities
Findings from the efforts of the Special Needs Advisory Board will be presented in a report to the Board of Education.
If you are a physician, parent of a child with special needs, teacher, psychologist, speech therapist, social worker, therapist or in a related field and are interested in becoming a Board Member, please fill out an application by clicking here.
City Council President Mike Khader is expected to complete the Children with Special Needs Advisory Board selection process in the coming months.