In an historic settlement, six Newark students and their parents, represented by the Education Law Center (ELC), Gibbons P.C. and Seton Hall Law School Center for Social Justice, came to an agreement with Newark Public Schools (NPS) and the State of NJ that will result in major improvements in special education services in Newark.
“This settlement is noteworthy both for its far-reaching achievements for Newark students with disabilities and for its amicable tone,” said Ruth Lowenkron, ELC Senior Attorney.
In agreeing to a settlement, the parties put aside their differences and obviated the need for a lengthy and costly trial.
Lawrence Lustberg, director of the John J. Gibbons Fellowship in Public Interest & Constitutional Law and a partner at Gibbons P.C., which provided services on a pro bono basis, stated: “Working together with Newark and the State, and with the assistance of the Court, we have achieved a great victory for the neediest schoolchildren in Newark. This is something that we can all be proud of.”
“We commend the families and advocates who worked for years to bring about this tremendous settlement for Newark schoolchildren,” said Lori Nessel, Director of the Center for Social Justice.
The parties agreed that students with disabilities in Newark will have access to special education services on a timely basis and will be provided with “compensatory education” for services they missed in the past. Agreed-upon safeguards include:
- implementation of a comprehensive special education database;
- mandatory staff training;
- extensive reporting of compliance activities;
- guidelines for corrective action if warranted;
- independent monitoring of special education services.
The settlement became effective upon the judge’s January 27, 2012 Order, and implementation will be immediate.
Ruth Deale Lowenkron, Esq.
Education Law Center
Lawrence Lustberg, Esq.
Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Communications