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Senate OKs Addiego Bill Creating Team of Administrative Law Judges to Handle Special Education Cases

Path to Progress initiative is designed to build expertise and speed up resolution of special education cases

TRENTON – The New Jersey Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Dawn Addiego (D-Burlington) to assign a team of administrative law judges to handle special education cases that too often languish in the legal system for months, delaying critical decisions on proper placements for the most vulnerable students.

“This legislation creates a specialized unit of administrative law judge to handle very complicated special education cases that too often tie up parents and school boards in court for months,” said Senator Addiego. “The purpose of this bill is to develop a cadre of experienced judges who can dedicate the time needed to decide these cases in a matter of weeks, not months.”

The Addiego bill, S-3759, was one of the key education recommendations in the Path to Progress report issued last year by the bipartisan Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup, a team of economists, tax policy experts, academics and legislators convened by Senate President Steve Sweeney to address the state’s most pressing fiscal policy issues. Senator Addiego was one of eight legislators who served on the panel.

Superintendents, school boards, education policy experts and special education advocates have long cited the need for a team of administrative law judges who develop the expertise needed to handle special education cases.

The Senate passed the bill 40-0. It now goes to the Assembly for approval.

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