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Jewish Journal

N.Y. governor vetoes special ed. bill that would benefit religious children

JTA

Posted on Aug. 1, 2012 at 10:37 am

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Photo by Pat Arnow

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Photo by Pat Arnow

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have made it easier for religious students with special needs to receive tuition reimbursements for attending private schools.

Special needs students currently may receive a tuition reimbursement if their local public schools do not provide the services they need, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal. Parents must apply for the reimbursement every year and show why the public school is inappropriate for the child, as well as why the chosen private school is appropriate.

The bill that was vetoed Tuesday would have required reapplication for the reimbursement only when students’ needs change, not annually. The bill would have required schools to consider “the school environment” versus the student’s “home environment and family background.”

Haredi Orthodox Jews, as well as Catholics, backed the bill. According to the Journal, Leah Steinberg, special education affairs director for the haredi Agudath Israel of America, called the bill “compassionate.”

Cuomo in a statement called the measure “an overly broad and ambiguous mandate.”

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