Senator Simcha Felder To Mayor DeBlasio: STOP LYING!


Senator Felder is calling on Mayor de Blasio to keep his promise to parents of special needs children.

“In 2014, the Mayor held a press conference where he laid out his commitment to ‘reduce litigation, streamline paperwork, and ensure parents have a responsive and efficient process to meet their child’s special education needs,’ “these are the Mayor’s words and we are holding him to them,” Senator Felder told YWN.

“Today, the bureaucracy that parents endure is worse than ever. After hearing what they go through, year after year, I would describe it as cruel and unusual punishment. DOE has been out of compliance with the law for 13 years.

Think about that for a minute… Back then, families came to us for help right at the beginning of their ordeal, now their kids are out of school and the problem persists. It’s really appalling, but every day there are more calls from parents who need help right now, and I am determined to do right by them,” said Senator Felder.


Honorable Bill de Blasio Mayor
New York City
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

As you well know, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) has been out of compliance with the requirements of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for 13 straight years. We have had many discussions about the pain, suffering and economic hardship parents of children with special needs endure each year in connection with their child’s special education program.

After numerous meetings and conversations with you, in June of 2014 your office issued the attached memorandum of understanding detailing an action plan. Slowly, the DOE made some improvements helping parents navigate the special education system. Under your guidance, DOE undertook administrative changes to reduce litigation and streamline paperwork. For a period between 2015 – 2016, there was hope that parents would finally have a responsive and efficient process to meet their child’s education needs.

Unfortunately, despite your assurance, since 2017 these changes appear to have been rolled back. Parents of special needs children are encountering more difficulties than ever before. They are once again begging for help, informing me that the DOE is doing everything within its power to make the process difficult. Too many parents have expressed how time-consuming and challenging it is to get their children the services that DOE is legally required to provide.

The most common concern is that DOE fails to respond in a timely manner. This appears to be especially true in regard to payments that are due – or more likely overdue. Whether parents are successful at a hearing or agree to a settlement, DOE does not appear to processes payments to these families for many months or in some cases over a year. This situation persists despite the fact that DOE is legally required to disburse these funds within 30 days. These parents have enough stress without having to bear the tremendous financial burden of paying upfront for their child’s education, hoping DOE will eventually get around to reimbursing them. (See attached list of 73 cases dating back to school year 2017/18, of which only one student had received full reimbursement.)

Secondly, cases previously settled for years are now being called to DOE hearings, even though nothing has changed in the case or IEP. These children carry diagnoses of permanent, pervasive conditions. The emotional toll on parents cannot be overstated; the waste of valuable time and energy, already so overtaxed in families with a special needs child, is unconscionable.

After 13 years, children and families are still suffering humiliation and financial burden from a special education system that is more burdensome and bureaucratic than ever. Five years have passed since you issued a memo and held a press conference outlining your commitment to these families, and sadly it appears to have become mostly talk. It is past time DOE be brought in compliance with the law and ensure students with disabilities appropriate placements and timely reimbursements for their education.

Before the start of the 2019-20 school year, please take a stand. Fulfill your commitment to ease the burden on families of special needs children. Cut the red tape, speed up the process, and let’s finally reach outcomes that do right by these families.

Due to the pressing nature of these issues, I respectfully request an expedited response by August 19.


Simcha Felder
Senator, 17th SD



(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Reb Simcha:

    I am somewhat taken aback that you address the mayor as if lying was something out of the ordinary. Please share with us some of the times that he has been forthcoming and honest. We, the public have not seen it.

    Next, I would ask you to tell us whether the same hardships that DOE has inflicted upon the Jewish community have been similarly on other minority communities. Yes, I am implying that i question whether the Jewish community has been singled out by this mayor to be dealt with unfairly. From our view, this is a strong possibility. Can you investigate this and report back?

  2. The senator is being silly. The mayor is not only politician, but he is a progressive, politically correct, Democrat (capital “D”). Stop lying? Next he’ll be demanding the dogs stop barking or that fish stop swiming.

  3. The mayor is too busy working out at the gym for his snow-shoveling videos. He has to work off all the weight he gained wearing pizza with a fork at the pizzeria he saved from going out of business.

  4. Interesting. The same problem exists in Yerushalayim where the mayor Moshe Leon is an inveterate liar. I guess the Israeli rule of whatever they do in America especially New York, must be done in Israel is being followed.

  5. @The Little I Know: This is not a Jewish issue or a case of Jewish schools being targeted. This is a case of gross mismanagement, callous indifference or both, and it affects 1000’s of students from diverse backgrounds across NYC

  6. @the little I know
    (Un)fortunately this issue has nothing to do with jewish schools. It is being experienced across the board by all special education schools. – I know because I am very involved in this. The biggest issue is that with the exception of a few people no one is doing anything about this issue. And when I say no one I mean not a single person/organization/council member/askan etc. except a handful – One of those people being Simcha Felder.
    That is the sad truth.

  7. Kudos R’ Simcha for stepping up to the plate on behalf of ALL New Yorkers.

    You’ve always been at the helm of bettering life for your constituents and New Yorkers at large.

    Continued hatzlocha in ALL your endeavors!!

  8. The Little I Know,
    At no point in his letter did Senator Felder suggest that this problem is unique to Jewish families. You made the assumption that that was what he meant. Did you read the letter?

  9. What happened now that a letter from August or earlier (I couldn’t find a date at the top, but he requests a reply by August 19) is being publicized by YW?

    And if Simcha Felder requested it, he probably regrets it by now as the headline is not diplomatic but inflammatory.