A state Assembly bill aimed at streamlining special education programs in the state’s public schools on Thursday passed its first major hurdle when it cleared the Education Committee.
The bill, A1365, this week passed the committee by a unanimous vote and will be headed for a full vote of the Assembly. The bill is sponsored by Assemblyman Dave Rible and would create a task force charged with improving the funding, deliver and effectiveness of special education programs and services in New Jersey’s public schools.
The bill would create the Task Force on Improving Special Education for Public School Students, comprised of 14 Gubernatorial appointments and the state Education Commissioner. The 14 would include parents, teachers, administrators and advocates involved in the special education community, according to the bill.
The panel would be charged with studying issues such as the methods of classifying special needs students strategies to reduce costs of out-of-district placements and program standards to ensure programs meets students’ needs and focus on achievement.
It would have 180 days after it organizes study to present findings and recommendations based on its study, according to the bill.
“Many families with special needs children have been frustrated with their experiences in the public school system. Although there are some exceptional special education programs in New Jersey, we can do better,” Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, said in a release. “This task force will leave no stone unturned in its quest to find ways to make special education more efficient and effective with a greater emphasis on student achievement.”
The bipartisan legislation is also prime-sponsored by Assembly members Mary Pat Angelini, Jason O’Donnell and Donna Simon, and Senators Jennifer Beck and Teresa M. Ruiz.
“I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support of this critical issue affecting education in just about every community in New Jersey,” Rible said.