Letter Education

CBC Urges Veto of Costly Special Education Mandate

July 27, 2012

Honorable Andrew Cuomo
Executive Chamber
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

The Citizens Budget Commission urges you to veto A.10722A/S.7722A, a bill that would allow for consideration of a child’s “home environment and family background” in special education placement determinations. Special education committees would be required to consider cultural and religious factors, in addition to educational considerations, when determining whether to place students with special needs in private schools. This provision has the potential to create significant costs for school districts that are already under severe fiscal pressure.

This bill would require local taxpayers to foot the bill for private school tuition in cases in which educationally adequate programs are available at public schools. Special education spending is already imposing high costs on local school districts; it has been growing at an average rate of 7.5% per year in New York State over the last decade. The property tax cap imposed on school districts by the legislature has already imposed budget constraints; requiring additional private school tuition reimbursements – beyond those necessary for educational reasons – would be harmful to some of the state’s most vulnerable districts.

School districts need relief from the more than 200 special education mandates currently imposed by the state, not more requirements that add to their costs. A.10722A/S.7722A is a step in the wrong direction, and it should be vetoed.


Carol Kellermann