Hundreds of Long Island preschoolers with disabilities are on waitlists for special education programs, a growing problem that has alarmed school officials who coordinate services for them.
On the Island, the wait to get into such programs has been as long as a year, school officials said. Demand has far outpaced supply: The enrollment for some programs for the upcoming 2023-24 school year was filled as early as December, something that Robin Newberg, coordinator of Middle Country School District’s universal prekindergarten programs, said was “unheard of.”
“We have great difficulty in placing our [preschool special education] kids. So much so that I’m getting very nervous about it,” said Mineola schools Superintendent Michael Nagler. “There are kids sitting at home right now that should be getting services that aren’t, which infuriates me.”
The services Nagler referred to is a special class — a small program, typically with 6 to 12 students