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Gov. Cuomo Vetoes Special Education Placement Bill

The legislation would have required schools to take cultural and family background into account when placing special education students and drew strong opposition from educators.

Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed Senate Bill 7722-A, which would have required schools to take family and cultural background into account in the placement of special education students. 

In his leter to the Senate, Cuomo cited many of the concerns raised by critics of the legislation, including the potential costs to school districts and taxpayers.

"This legislation would require that each school district 'take into any possible educational impact differences between the school environment and the child's home environment and family background may have on the child's ability to receive a free appropriate public education.'" Cuomo wrote. "This contitutes and overly broad and ambiguous mandate that would result in incalculable significant additional costs to be borne by every school district and taxpayer.

"This proposal would significantly expand the scope of private placements and public reimbursement of private tuition costs at great taxpayer expense." 

State Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) voted against the bill.

“As a former special education teacher I understand the importance of providing an appropriate education to children with special needs," Jaffee said. "However, I voted against this legislation because it not only imposed financial challenges to our public school districts, but also legal challenges given that it was in conflict with federal law."

Educators were among many in the state who have spoken out in opposition to the bill, raising concerns regarding the potential financial burden for schools and the risks involved with vague language it contains. 

In addition to a group of schools in Westchester County that passed resolutions opposing the legislation, the following groups asked Cuomo to veto it. 

  • Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City
  • Council of New York Special Education Administrators (CNYSEA)
  • Long Island Association of Special Education Administrators (LIASEA)
  • NYS Council of School Superintendents
  • Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents Council of New York Special Education Administrators (CNYSEA)
  • League of Women Voters
  • NYS PTA
  • National School Boards Association
  • Rural Schools Association
  • New York State United Teachers
  • Council of Big 5 School Districts
  • New York City Partnership

An online petition created by a Spring Valley resident urges people to sign and call the governor's office at 518-474-8390.  

Cuomo also mentioned the large number of groups that asked for the bill to be vetoed in his letter explaining the decision. 

"This administration, through the passage of two state budgets, as well as a property tax cap, mandate relief measures, and other legislation, has successfully sought to reduce mandates and the financial burden on local governments, school districts and taxpayers throughout the state," Cuomo wrote. "It is committed to providing the best education and assistance to every child in New York, including children with disabilities. While I remain committed to working with the Legislature and those interested in better serving the needs of our state's children, particularly those with special needs, this bill, for the reasons detailed above, is not approved."

Pearl River Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Morgano said last week he is opposed to the bill and he signed the letter written by the NYS Council of School Superintendents. 

Supporters of the legislation argued that it would reduce litigation regarding the placement of special education students, but those who argue that the language is not clear enough have called that into question. 

Assembly Bill 10722/Senate Bill 7722 would call for schools to take a student's home life and cultural environment into account when making placement decisions.

Tuesday morning, the Wall Street Journal is reported that Cuomo was expected to veto the bill. 

Sick-n-Tired July 31, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Another sellout for a vote.
Watchdog July 31, 2012 at 11:39 PM
I was very disappointed in Carlucci who just may be becoming another politician. After he is dumped by his own party, which is in the works, he will have to go into the real world and get a real job. Lets see how well he does?
charlotte clark August 01, 2012 at 08:02 AM
In the world today, a young lady who does not have a college education just is not educated. Especially with our busy life who has time but look for High Speed Universities for faster education at your leisure
Margaret McKee August 01, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Okay,......... thanks to all who called for the veto......but don't let' your guard down, this bill will be resurrected with different wording and those in favor will push to extremes.......... so watch, read everything.....AND be ready for the next step! .keep informe
Watchdog August 01, 2012 at 07:25 PM
The Hasids do not go down easily. This will be changed and Cuomo pressured to sign.

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