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ICT class ratios & variances

Ratio/Maximum number of students with disabilities

The number of students with disabilities in an Integrated Co-Teaching class:

  • may not exceed 40 percent of the total class register with a maximum of 12 students with disabilities, and 
  • must adhere to general education class size limits. 

The 40 percent and 12-student limit includes any student with a disability in that class, regardless of whether the student is recommended for integrated co-teaching services. For example, if two students  receive special education teacher support services (SETSS) and 10 have IEPs recommending integrated co-teaching services, there are 12 students with disabilities in that classroom. 


State regulations allow schools to add one additional student (13th student) to an ICT class by notifying the State Education Department and to add a 14th student with prior approval by the State Education Department. 

According to state guidance:

  • Schools can exceed the maximum of 12 students with disabilities in ICT classes “only when exceptional circumstances arise.” Examples of “exceptional circumstances” are students who are newly identified as disabled or move into the school district during the school year.
  • Schools must begin the school year in compliance with the 12-student limit and must not routinely apply for waivers.
  • When notifying the SED of the addition of a 13th student or applying for a variance to add a 14th student, the school must “demonstrate educational justification and consistency with providing an appropriate education for all children affected” [ i.e., the entire class].
  • The Commissioner may revoke or preempt any increase in the number of students with disabilities in an ICT class beyond the regulatory maximum if a finding is made that the increase would not be consistent with appropriate special education.

Schools may not submit variance notifications or requests directly to NYSED. If the school has an appropriate ICT class but cannot place the student in the class without exceeding regulatory limits, and no other appropriate options to serve the student or others in the class have been identified, the school must submit a variance notification (for the 13th student) or variance request (for the 14th student) to the ASE for review. The ASE will:

  • Confirm that the class was in compliance at the beginning of the year;
  • Determine whether a variance is warranted; and, if appropriate,
  • Submit the draft notification/request to the Special Education Office (SEO).

The SEO will either provide further assistance to the school or submit the variance notification/request to NYSED. The SEO will inform the ASE of the decision.

Approved variances are in effect only for the school year (or remainder thereof) in which the variance is granted. Schools are expected to remedy the need for a variance by the commencement of the following school year.

“Doing the ‘Math” on ICT Variances” describes the interplay between the DOE’s 40 percent rule, the SED’s 12-student maximum and the variance procedures. Note that this tool does not address classes affected by class size reduction legislation.