(The Center Square) – New Jersey will use $600 million from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to fund a one-year extension of public education and related services for thousands of students with disabilities.
Concurrently, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law S-3434/A-5366, authorizing the temporary one-year extension of education to students with disabilities who “age out” — or exceed the current age of eligibility — during the 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years.
“The pandemic has been especially hard on students with disabilities who rely on school programs to ensure they have the skills and services they need to be successful following graduation,” Murphy said in a news release. “By providing an additional year for students who will otherwise age out allows to us acknowledge the unique impact of the pandemic on these students and help secure a better future for them and their families.”
The Department of Education (DOE) estimates more than 8,600 students will “age out” during the three years. Under the measure, a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team must determine the extra year of education or services to be necessary.
In a statement, Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland, said the “extension is a crucial lifeline to students on the brink of aging out who lost educational services to the pandemic at a critical time for them and their families.”
The federal government sent the state more than $6 billion as part of ARP. In May, the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) could not determine the legislation’s exact local and state fiscal impact.