Senator Kristin Corrado’s legislation that would dedicate more judges to special education cases has earned Senate approval.
Sen. Kristin Corrado’s legislation would designate more judges to clear the backlog of special education conflicts in the courts. (©iStock)
Under the bill (S-3759), a unit within the Office of Administrative Law would be established to ease the frequent court backlogs of special education disputes between families and school districts. Judges in the special education unit would adjudicate all contested cases concerning special education law referred to the Office of Administrative Law.
“The parents of children with special needs and school districts often disagree on how to provide the best educational opportunities for the students. The debates often end up in the courts,” said Corrado (R-40). “By increasing efficiency and providing more timely resolutions, this legislation will break the legal logjam and frustrating delays that interfere with the development of students.”
A recommendation of the Path to Progress report issued by the Legislature’s Economic and Fiscal Policy Work Group, the measure 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.
“The data will demonstrate the effectiveness of this new approach and help determine if enough judges are assigned to the special unit to handle the volume,” added Corrado. “If it looks like we need more judges to meet the caseload, then that’s something we can explore.”