• Adam Dayan, Esq.

Will Governor Cuomo Sign The Special Education Bill?

The hubbub about the special education bill continues. There was a story about it in the New York Times:


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/03/nyregion/albany-bill-would-add-family-to-special-education-factors.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail0=y


The Wall Street Journal has reported on it:


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304211804577501082865373076.html?KEYWORDS=fleisher


The mayor's office sent out a press release opposing the move.


The bill purports to do three things: (1) force school districts to take into account a child's home environment and family background when making decisions about special education placement; (2) change the timelines for due process proceedings and reimbursement with the goal of speeding up the process; and (3) ensure that, once a private school is deemed appropriate, it continues to be treated as appropriate until the school district changes the child's IEP. Again, I say "purports" because what this means exactly still needs to be worked out.


Schools and school districts are waiting in the wings to see how this will affect their regular course of business. Some questions that remain to be answered:

  • What does it really mean to consider a child's "home environment and family background," and are there parameters?

  • To what extent will this decrease litigation and reduce the high cost that such litigation typically entails?

  • How will this affect the district's process of making placement recommendations?

  • What, if any, the effect will this have on the way in which State Ed treats private schools?

  • To what extent does this bill comport with applicable federal law relating to children with disabilities?

I believe the governor has ten days from the time he receives the bill to approve or veto. To my knowledge, he has not yet received it from the legislature. Stay tuned.

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