Students who are eligible for special education, as determined by NYC’s Committee on Special Education, can receive tuition reimbursement from the DOE via Carter or Connors Funding. For more information, click here. Most MMFS students receive Carter funding; a few students receive Connors funding each year.
Carter funding (from the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court Case Florence County School Dist. Four v. Carter) involves reimbursement of tuition to the family from the Department of Education for an independent school education. The family pays the tuition up front and seeks reimbursement from the NYC DOE at an impartial hearing. If successful, the DOE will reimburse the family. According to the leading special education law firms, 98-99% of all NYC tuition reimbursement lawsuits win or settle an impartial hearing. Winning means full reimbursement, and settlement is generally at rates exceeding 90% of the cost. Please note that it can take up to two years or more following a settlement or a win for families to receive reimbursement. Therefore, special education law firms advise families to have at least two years of tuition accessible.
All tuition reimbursement cases are done on an annual basis at independent schools, including Mary McDowell Friends School. This requires families to file a lawsuit every school year, and therefore retain lawyers and incur legal fees on an annual basis.
Connors funding (from the 1998 U.S. District Court for the Northern District of NY case Connors v. Mills) requires school districts to pay tuition directly to the independent school. A family that is eligible for Connors funding doesn’t have to pay tuition and wait for reimbursement. Connors funding is specifically for families without the financial means to afford the tuition of independent schools.
Families who seek Connors placement for their child must submit an application annually (or confirm that their financial information has not materially changed since the last time they provided the school with their financial documents), which includes financial records that will be reviewed by the school’s Financial Aid Committee.
Each year MMFS will require a family to complete a financial aid application or confirm that their financial information has not materially changed since the last time they provided the school with their financial documents.