Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have required schools to consider the “home environment and family background” of special-needs students when placing them.
Public school groups had been highly critical of the legislation, claiming it amounted to an unfunded mandate that would have led to a jump in students attending private schools on the public’s dime.
The governor agreed. Here are excerpts from the memo explaining why he did not approve the measure:
This legislation would require that each school district “take into account any possible educational impact differences between the school environment and the child’s home environment and family background may have on the child’s ability to receive a free appropriate public education.” This constitutes an overly broad and ambiguous mandate that would result in incalculable significant additional costs to be borne by every school district and taxpayer.
The proposal would significantly expand the scope of private placements and public reimbursement of private tuition costs at a great taxpayer expense.
This Administration, through the passage of two State budgets, as well as a property tax cap, mandate relief measures, and other legislation, has successfully sought to reduce mandates and the financial burden on local governments, school districts and taxpayers throughout the State. It is committed to providing the best education and assistance to every child in New York, including children with disabilities. However, this bill unfairly places the burden on taxpayers to support the provision of a private education.