I am pleased to report that last Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo vetoed a bill (S.7722-A/A.10722-A) that would have required public school officials to consider religion and other family beliefs when approving taxpayer-funded tuition for special-education students at private schools.
The bill was approved late in the 2012 legislative session, and was pushed by religious groups that argued that some special-needs children can best learn in a setting that closely reflects their family life.
School-district officials argued that the bill would have imposed a massive burden on the public schools. Private tuition and transportation for special-education students can cost tens of thousands of dollars per year per child.
In his veto message, Gov. Cuomo wrote:
“This (legislation) constitutes an overly broad and ambiguous mandate that would result in incalculable significant additional costs to be borne by every school district and taxpayer….This proposal would significantly expand the scope of private placements and public reimbursement of private tuition costs at great taxpayer expense.”
This bill would have placed yet another huge unfunded mandate on taxpayers throughout the state. We applaud the governor for vetoing this bill, and for once again showing his commitment to fiscal responsibility and to protecting school districts and taxpayers from an unsustainable unfunded mandate.