Yesterday, the Orthodox Union commended the New Jersey Assembly Education Committee for passing Bill A-2869, by a margin of 9-0 with one abstention, that will allow a school district to assign a student eligible for special education services to an appropriate, religious Special Education School.
Currently the Special Education Law allows a public school district to assign a student to a nonpublic school as long as the school is nonsectarian.
That language seriously impacts religious students from being assigned to a school that best suits their needs.
This legislation will remove that barrier. By amending the language to allow a school district to assign an eligible student to any accredited nonpublic Special Education School, as long as the funds are restricted to secular programs and services, this legislation will allow a child that requires special education and services to receive them in an environment more conducive to succeed together with their friends.
“The current law is very harmful to the lives of families with special education students” says Josh Pruzansky, the Orthodox Union’s New Jersey Director of Public Policy and Political Affairs. “Families were faced with a very difficult decision -whether to send their child to a Public School for free or to a school that can provide the best suitable environment they wish for their child, but which is very expensive. This legislation will give school districts the ability to assign these children to schools like the Sinai Schools in North Jersey.”
The Orthodox Union thanks Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Amy Handlin as well as Assemblymen Gary Schaer and Peter Barnes for sponsoring this legislation supported in bi-partisan fashion. We also thank Assembly Education Committee Chairman Patrick Diegnan for his support of this legislation.
We look forward to its passage in the Assembly as well as its passage at the Senate Education Committee in the coming weeks.