From The Hall Monitor, a Journal News blog:
An official from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office who called on condition his information was just for “background” has confirmed that a story in today’s Wall Street Journal is accurate and the governor will veto a bill that would change the criteria for placement of special-education students in the state.
The legislation would require that school districts consider a disabled student’s home and family environment, including religion, when deciding where he or she could be best educated. That would make it easier for families to ask that their child attend a private school — at public expense — rather than a public school.
Critics of the bill, including many school districts and the New York State United Teachers union, say it is an expensive, unfunded mandate that will cost public schools (and taxpayers) millions of dollars and illegally creates a system where public tax dollars go to fund religious institutions; supporters say it helps parents find the right program for their child.
Agudath Israel, a New York City-based Orthodox Jewish group, drafted the bill. Orthodox Jews, particularly from Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in Brooklyn and East Ramapo, have long complained about students from these insular communities being placed in public schools. State law requires that public districts pay special-education costs, including in private schools when there are no appropriate public-school settings available.