State regulations delineate specific criteria for operation of special classes. The maximum class size for special classes and maximum chronological age ranges within these classes are specified in these regulations. The regulations allow some flexibility in permitting a variance from each of these requirements, on a case-by-case basis, based on appropriate educational justification.
A request for a variance from special class size and chronological age range requirements must be submitted to the State Education Department (NYSED) for consideration on an individual student basis before the student is placed into the proposed program. Schools and Borough/Citywide Offices (BCOs) may not submit variance requests directly to NYSED. Rather, schools and BCOs must complete the Variance Request Form and submit it to the Administrator for Special Education (ASE) for review. The request requires documented evidence that the student would be placed in a group or class where other students have comparable functioning in academic, social, physical and management needs areas. If the ASE confirms that the class was in compliance at the beginning of the school year and agrees that a variance is warranted, the ASE submits the request to the Special Education Office (SEO) for further review. The SEO will either provide further assistance or submit the variance request to NYSED.
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.
Please Note: Special Classes may be increased by no more than one student.