Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Dawn Marie Addiego, which would create a special education unit within the Office of Administrative Law, cleared the Senate Education Committee today.
This bill is part of a larger “Path to Progress” bill package that is currently moving through the Legislature.
“Many students with disabilities are being left in inappropriate placements due to lengthy court disputes between families and schools,” said Senator Addiego (D-Atlantic/Burlington/Camden). “This bill would help to establish a group of judges who have the experience and understanding to handle these special education cases. Having these cases resolved in a timely manner will result in students with disabilities being able to receive the education and services that best meet their needs. All children deserve an education and we can’t let them sit around in legal limbo when they should be in school.”
The bill, S-3759, would require the Director and Chief Administrative Law Judge of the Office of Administrative Law to create a unit consisting of law judges that have an expertise in special education law. The number of administrative law judges in the special education unit would be proportional to the number and complexity of special education cases referred to the office.
Under the bill, the Director and Chief Administrative Law Judge would prepare an annual report to the Governor and to the Legislature. The report would include statistics on the number of special education cases referred to the special education unit and the average time to resolution of the special education cases.
This act would take effect on the first day of the ninth month following enactment. The Director and Chief could take any anticipatory action to effectuate the bill.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 6-0.