For Immediate Release Contact:
May 2, 2014 Roslyn Singer, 212-613-8227
The New Jersey office of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center commended New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg for introducing bill S-2042 this week, which will allow school districts to assign a student with special needs to an accredited special education non-public school program— even if that program is sectarian—as long as the funds are used only for non-sectarian programs and services.
“Similar to its companion bill that was introduced in the Assembly at the end of March, this bill will make a significant difference to families that have children with special needs. We are hopeful that this version of the bill will garner broader support in the legislature and pass,” said Josh Pruzansky, Regional Director of OU Advocacy-NJ. “We are grateful to Senator Weinberg for leading the effort to give equal opportunity and fair treatment to all students with special needs.”
Dr. Jeff Lichtman, International Director of Yachad, the National Jewish Council for Disabilities, added, “We enthusiastically support this bill as it would give students with special needs an opportunity to attend a program that best serves them—regardless of where the program is located. It also will potentially provide much-needed relief to parents who have, in the past, often needed to resort to costly and time-consuming litigation as their only option to secure district funding for their children’s education. ”
“We also want to acknowledge the support of the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations and the constituent Jewish Federations in New Jersey for supporting this bill. Their advocacy efforts on behalf of children with special needs underscores that these two companion bills in the Senate and the Assembly can benefit the entire Jewish community of New Jersey,” added Pruzansky. “We encourage the Jewish community to follow this advocacy model and contact their legislators to urge them to support these bills.”
The bill will be reviewed by the Senate Education Committee. If approved, the bill will move to the Senate floor for consideration by the full Senate.
The Orthodox Union is the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization; the OU Advocacy Center, formerly the Institute for Public Affairs, is the non-partisan public policy arm of the OU and leads its advocacy efforts in Washington, DC and state capitals.