Advocacy Alert: NJDOE Special Education Regulations Proposed

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) regulates private special education schools like the one your son or daughter attends. These regulations affect everything from services and staff, to facility and finance.

The NJDOE has recently proposed more than 80 pages of new accounting rules that will devastate private schools, and make it very hard for them to operate. Some schools may be forced to close.

The rules affect areas such as pension, healthcare, travel, hiring and staff training, tuition-setting, debt, and audits, to name a few. These rules will DIRECTLY affect services to children.

ASAH has opposed these rules and has asked leaders in Trenton to delay action, but WE ARE NOT ALONE. Look at all the organizations that are asking the State Board to delay:

  • ASAH
  • Advocates for Children of NJ (ACNJ)
  • Autism New Jersey
  • The Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities
  • The Arc of New Jersey
  • NJ Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies
  • New Jersey Coalition for Special Education Funding Reform
  • The United Way of Central Jersey

HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE:

These proposed rules would have a devastating effect on approved private schools’ ability to continue serving their students.

MEDIA COVERAGE

On January 12, NJTV aired the following segment on concerns over the proposed code changes.

NJ Spotlight logo
Public Hearings on Charters and Private Schools
NJ Spotlight, John Mooney, January 4, 2017.

NJ Spotlight logo
Special Education Schools Alarmed at DOE Proposals
NJ Spotlight: re NJTV coverage, John Mooney, January 4, 2017.

Brick ShoreBeat logo
A Call to Action
Brick Shorebeat, Kimberlee Rutan McCafferty, January 17, 2017


UPDATE: STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING, APRIL 5, 2017

Today, the State Board of Education took testimony on the proposed code changes that will affect private special education services. Each one of the 18 people who testified on the code spoke in opposition, and urged that the state board refuse to adopt it. There were no supporters of the code.

ASAH leadership and members of several schools were there, along with Autism New Jersey and The New Jersey Coalition for Special Education Funding Reform. By far, the most compelling testimony came from the 8 family members who spoke. Many fighting emotions as they spoke, mothers, fathers and even an older brother described how private special education has been life-altering. They described the well trained, credentialed staff and the need for a full range of intensive related services. They implored the Board of Education to reject the proposal.

Members of the Board appeared to be moved by the testimony. All expressed deep concern for the issues raised and agreed to look further into the issues.

Watch this website for more news.

CLICK HERE to read the testimony of Gerry Thiers on behalf of ASAH given at the April 5th Board Meeting.


UPDATE: STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING, FEBRUARY 1, 2017

More than 30 families and their children with severe disabilities squeezed into the public meeting of the New Jersey State Board of Education on Wednesday, February 1. Joined by nearly 80 other special education advocates and leaders from state organizations, they jammed the lobby of the New Jersey Department of Education in opposition to new state rules that would put special education services for the state’s most vulnerable students at risk.

Parents and families at the NJ State Board of Education meeting February 1, 2017

HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Send a letter to State Board of Education regarding the proposed code.

  • CLICK HERE to download a Parent Letter template for the President of the State Board of Education in MSWord. Please be sure to copy your letter to the NJ Department of Education and Governor Christie.
Send your letters to:

Mr. Mark W. Biedron
President
New Jersey State Board of Education
State Board Office
P.O. Box 500
Trenton, NJ 08625-0500

With copy to:

The Honorable Chris Christie
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625

and:

Ms. Kimberley Harrington
Acting Commissioner
New Jersey Department of Education
P.O. Box 500
Trenton, NJ 08625-0500

You can also sign this parent-initiated petition at Change.org to stop the proposed code revisions.

RESOURCES:


ABOUT PRIVATE SPECIAL EDUCATION SCHOOLS IN NEW JERSEY

  • Private schools serve more than 11,000 children ages 3-21 who have complex and severe disabilities including autism, aspergers, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, learning disabilities, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety, medical and chromosomal conditions, and more.
  • Federal and state laws require that all students with disabilities receive an appropriate special education at no cost to parents.
  • Public school districts place students with disabilities in private schools when the in-district programs cannot meet a child’s needs.
  • Public schools pay tuition; rates are set annually by the NJDOE.
  • Private schools are heavily regulated by the NJDOE.
  • Many private schools in New Jersey are tax-exempt charitable organizations established for the benefit of the students they serve; others are family-owned and operated businesses.

Questions? Need more information?
Call ASAH 609-890-1400
www.asah.org

If private schools are forced to close, the state’s most vulnerable and educationally complex students will have no appropriate options. Where will they go?