Governor Signs Saland Special Education Bill

Stephen M. Saland

October 01, 2008

Senator Steve Saland (R, I, C Poughkeepsie) today announced that the Governor has signed his bill, S.7981-A, allowing Committees on Special Education to advise parents of services that may be available outside of the school setting which may be beneficial for children with disabilities.

Public school districts in New York State are responsible for identifying and evaluating students that require academic assistance, program modifications or other support services due to a disabling condition. These duties are carried out by a school district's Committee on Special Education (CSE), which is compromised of a multi-disciplinary team of school district personnel with the expertise to evaluate and make recommendations, and the parents or guardians of the student.

While their area of expertise is primarily in the scope of school related services, CSE Chairs and other
committee members often possess a wealth of information about relevant and helpful resources, programs, counseling
and other related services that exist in the local community. These services can present an additional opportunity for
parents to access help for their children that complements the services already provided during the school day. This
law will enable the members of a CSE to share such information with the child's parents.

The recommendations are to be compiled in a collaborative manner by committee members and provided in a "list" format, in order to insure that a recommendation is not perceived as "steering" a parent to a particular provider. The law includes language that shields from liability, both the school district and a committee member, who, in good faith provides such list.

“With this legislation, I hope to insure that parents of children with special needs have a comprehensive guide that will enable them to locate services outside of the school setting which may enhance their child’s educational development and well being,” stated Senator Saland.