Class Ratios: TEACHER TO STUDENT RATIOS IN SPECIAL ED CLASSROOMS

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Catherine:  Our high school just reduced the number of SPED classrooms, while cutting staff, and are adding more students. What is the legal limit for the amount of students they can put in a classroom, and how many adults do they need to have? I strongly believe they can’t meet FAPE with the way the classes are now arranged.

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Pamela

I work in a California middle school as a paraprofessional with 4 Special Ed students who fall under my responsibility. We have no SDC teacher or classroom at this school. Is this illegal? Is the school out of compliance?

Chuck

Your state education agency would have to answer that, if the district or teacher associations won’t tell you.

Monica

I am a middle school art teacher with general education classes. Some of my classes have rosters of 34 and 35 learners including self-contained students with no aide. Last year our district Art Office required an increase in reading in Art. This year our district Art Office requires that we increase writing in Art classes. I feel bad that I have been unable to meet my wonderful students’ unique needs. I recognize that IDEA’s erroneous classification of visual art as “non-academic” caused these incorrect policies to be adopted. I had hoped ESSA would help art education but my class size has increased and all aide support has disappeared since it was passed. Unfortunately, our union is not allowed to discuss class size, I am told. Is there any other suggestion to correct rostering policies?

Chuck

In such situations like this I feel that the best approach is to focus on the situation at your campus with your student & not district policies. You can try to find supporters at your campus & community to develop a plan to improve the situation for your students. Are parent volunteers allowed on your campus?

Lara

It’s so disappointing that we all seem to be in different levels of the same boat. I have 27 special education students at this time. Collectively, they have 10 hours of resource minutes included in their IEPs and I have six hours of possible classroom time to support them. My schedule overlaps so much that some students are only receiving assistance from me for 10-15 minutes each day, regardless of the fact that their IEPs require 30-90 minutes of resource help each day. I am fortunate that I have four paraprofessionals who cover all of the inclusion minutes that are on top of the students’ resource minutes. Power on, friends, and know that you do make a difference even if no one acknowledges it!

Margaret

I am literally in the same boat! I had 27 now 29. I am fortunate enough if I even get to spend a full 15 minutes with them. How do you handle this if you don’t mind me asking. Love to pick your brain!

Stacy

Not every state education agency has rules or laws regarding this. Other sources of “caseload limits” or “class size” may be in the teacher’s or classified staff’s collective bargaining agreements. And it’s also important to remember, ratios may reflect “best practices” advisories from the state education agency, but not be actual citations of law.

Andrea

There are legal limits to the number of special education students per teacher or aide as well as legal limits to classroom totals. These ratios are determined by the students’ placement.

Sharon

From everything I have read, there are no laws protecting special day class teachers for classroom or caseload. CA has recommendations from the SELPA and everything else, in our district anyway, is negotiated to amend our contract. I sent a letter to the state because I was providing all our resource services and special day class simultaneously. The state is aware this SHOULD be addressed, but still nothing has been done.

Cari

Is there a law for teacher to student ratio for kindergarten? I have 2 students width Down syndrome and one with autism makes a total of 19 without any one on one teachers aid or no help.

Karen

Is there a law i ref/ to the total class load limit for a teacher in sp. ed for SC? I have no more than 8 per class but I have a total of 37. Austistic spectrum and LD and ADHD. TY

Marinell

In Ca resource teachers cannot have more than 28 unless the district files a waiver, which requires more aide support and the Ed specialist is to agree to the terms, more than 32 is never allowed in a resource specialist’s caseload

kelsie

I teach preschool, I have 20 students in my classroom. I currently have 4 IEP’s with another 3 who are being evaluated and will also qualify. My question is how many students can be in a classroom, how many children total and then how many IEP’s?

Chuck

If there is a rule on this, it would be made by your state education agency. They or teacher associations should be able to tell you.

Susan

this year at our school all of the special needs students in the middle school have the same schedule, some of the day they are with a special ed teacher which is fine but the classes (science, social studies, etc) that they are not i they have one para for all of the students. Is this legal?

lourdes

Depending on their IEP, maybe. If the IEP says co-taught for the full segment for 5 days a week then a special education teacher needs to be in there. However, if the IEP only says co-taught for a smaller amount of time, then a para is legal. Many students don’t need specialized instruction for the whole time and a para is an excellent option for the remainder of the time.

Regina

When I started the school year, I had 23 students on my caseload, but now I have 38. I know that is 10 over the limit, but I also want to point out that there are 65 students on our campus, and I have over half of those students whereas the other teachers have less than 30 altogether. If they are not going to provide any assistance, should I be paid more? I think the only reason they are doing this is that the district was just sued for over 800K for an issue not related to Special Education

Wendi

Does California have a law that limits the number of students with IEPs in a general education classroom? Is there a ratio of gen Ed v special Ed students that if reached the class is no longer a gen Ed class?

Venita

We are in a teacher shortage crisis at my school in TN. I am not doing the job I was hired for because their was not a low incidence teacher hired. I am the only teacher right now that can write IEP’s which means, I am expected to case manage low incidence and inclusion, and we are getting new students everyday needing an IEP in 30 days. that will put me well over 40 students alone. Is this legal to put teachers in this situation?

Marie

hello, what is the maximum number of students with IEPs allowed in a resource class room in Michigan

Keiko

what is the ratio for integrated special ed classroom between teacher and aid in california

margarita

middle school life skills unit i have 10 students 2 on wheel chairs 4 on diapers 3 runners some attend class with para assistance weekday is the ratio

margarita

In the state of texas

Margaret

What is the teacher to student ratio needed for an aide in a special education classroom in Illinois?

Sheri

I teach in Arizona. I have a class of 26 students with 15 classified as special needs or on an IEP. There is no way to partner up helpers and I don’t have any aides or para support. My question is there a law that says what percentage of the class can be special education. There are 3 other classrooms that the students can be split evenly but because the district cut support they put them all in one room and then provided me with NO support.

Lee

I need the same information for the state of Florida

Michelle

Did you ever get an answer?

Mary

I have 38 students 14 ESE and the rest Esol level 1 and reading levels at 1… I have 5 classes with high numbers and my 6th class with 14 Resource Autistic… I leave work tired and my back on fire. What has education become?

Sharri

Hi. In Virginia, can anyone tell me how many SPED students must a school have to get one full time SPED teacher? For example, let’s say you have students from varying mild disability areas such as LD, ED, OHI, and maybe one ID. If you have a small class size, can you get a full-time teacher or would you have to settle for a part-time teacher?

Chuck

Google “how many special education students are needed to earn state funding in VA” These resources sound like they will answer your question. You can also contact the state education agency.

Debbie

Hi. I am a special ed teacher in NYS. I have a class ratio labeled 12:1:2. Are two TAs still required if I have less than 12 students?

David

In Missouri it seems self contained classrooms at the elementary level can have a 9:1 ratio of students to teacher. We are moving to get rid of the self contained classroom by moving to class with a class/Co teaching system. However, the numbers of LD students in the regular ed classroom is going up. Is there a limit of IEP students that can be in the COTeaching Classroom, as their is in the self contained class?

Jeff

How many students with IEP’s can a general education class have before it no longer is considered a general education setting?

Chuck

That would be based on the state’s rule. Some states have no rule on this.

Lee

Where would I find this for Florida?

Chuck

It may be on the FL dept of Ed website, but you might need to call them or your state parent training and information project should know. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

Jayney

I am a self-contained primary specialized learning disability teacher in Nevada. I have 15 students in my class and no aid. Is this legal? My admin has not hired anyone even though they have known since August that there is no aid for this class.

HCE

That is considered a 15:1 and it is totally legal as long as the students IEP says they are to be in a 15:1. If it says 12:1:1 or 6:1:1, then there should be an aid.