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Cuomo Vetoes Special Ed Placement Bill [UPDATE]

The legislation would require schools to take cultural and family background into account when placing special education students and has drawn strong opposition from educators.

Updated, 5 p.m.

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

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."

Original Story:

Multiple media outlets are reporting that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to veto a bill that would require schools to take family and cultural background into account in the placement process for special education students. 

in opposition to the bill, raising concerns regarding the potential financial burden for schools and the risks involved with language it contains. State legislators passed the bill last month and Cuomo has until Wednesday to sign it into law.

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

  • 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
  • New York State School Boards Association

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

Supporters of the legislation argued that it would reduce litigation regarding the placement of special education students, but others argue that the language is too vague and will create burdens for schools.

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.

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