Backlogs in New Jersey’s often-criticized system for resolving special education disputes between families and school districts would be eased by legislation sponsored by Senator Kristin Corrado that was advanced by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Sen. Kristin Corrado’s bill would establish a unit within the Office of Administrative Law dedicated to special education cases to ease backlogs in the courts. (©iStock)
Corrado’s bill (S-3759) would establish a unit within the Office of Administrative Law dedicated to special education cases. The Senate Education Committee passed the bill in June.
“The parents of students with special needs often feel forgotten by their schools and turn to the courts to ensure adequate educational opportunities for their children,” said Corrado (R-40). “Unfortunately, we have a backlog of cases and growing frustration on all sides. My bill addresses the bottleneck by increasing the efficiency of the process and providing more timely resolutions.”
Under the bill, judges in the special education unit would adjudicate all contested cases concerning special education law referred to the Office of Administrative Law.
The measure, a recommendation of the Path to Progress report issued by the Legislature’s Economic and Fiscal Policy Work Group, directs the Chief Administrative Law Judge to prepare an annual report to the Governor and Legislature, including the number of special education cases referred to the special unit and the number of cases resolved by the unit.
“We need data to demonstrate the effectiveness of this new approach and help determine if enough judges to handle the load are assigned to the special education unit,” Corrado noted. “If we find that we need more judges to keep these cases moving forward, that’s something we can look to do.”
Related Facebook Post: