October 7, 1996
Dear County Superintendents of Schools
Superintendents of Unified School Districts
Superintendents of Elementary School Districts
County Office Administrators, Special Education
Directors of Special Education
Section 504 Administrative Designees
Other Interested Organizations/Individuals
RE: California State Board of Education Resolution and Further Clarification on the Class
Size Reduction Program and its Relationship to Individuals with Disabilities
This letter and accompanying California State Board of Education resolution are written to provide additional information and policy recommendations to all concerned regarding the Class Size Reduction Program and its relationship to individuals with disabilities under the federal requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
First and foremost, both the California State Board of Education and the Superintendent are in full support of the Class Size Reduction Program. This program allows California public schools to provide critical teaching and learning for our young children as never before. This program provides the opportunity for teachers to focus on individual students to meet their learning and developmental needs This opportunity can certainly include students with disabilities, as appropriately determined by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.
To this end, we encourage every school district in California to examine the Class Size Reduction Program as an opportunity to unite as a cohesive education system for student success. Many of the students benefiting from this new legislation may be students receiving specially designed instruction in our public schools, based on their IEP.
lt is also important for school districts to take into account their existing obligations under federal and state laws for individuals with disabilities. which focus on individual students versus a class of students (i.e., kindergarten, first, second or third grade). Districts can meet both individual and class requirements as long as they consider, discuss and thoughtfully implement the Class Size Reduction Program with full understanding of these legal obligations.
In the past month, the State Board of Education members, the Advisory Commission on Special Education, staff in the California Department of Education, local school districts, and organizations representing individuals with disabilities and special education personnel have received numerous phone calls and inquiries regarding the Class Size Reduction Program and its relationship to individuals with disabilities and special education programs.
To best assist local school districts in their local decision-making process regarding all elements of the Class Size Reduction Program, we ask that both general and special education staff, administrators, and consumers consider the enclosed materials: "California State Board of Education Resolution: Class Size Reduction Program and Individuals with Disabilities" and "Class Size Reduction Program Selected Areas for Consideration Regarding Individuals with Disabilities."
We thank you in advance for your thoughtful decisions regarding all students and support your efforts in implementing the Class Size Reduction Program. The State Board of Education agreed in its September meeting to further study, analyze and provide recommendations and actions as needed to assist local districts in successful implementation of the Class Size Reduction Program, including issues or barriers identified around providing a free and appropriate public education to students with disabilities in the context of the Class Size Reduction Program. If there are questions regarding the Class Size Reduction Program and its relationship to students in special education, please contact Connie Bourne, Administrator, Special Education Division, at 916- 327-3696.
DELAINE EASTIN YVONNE W. LARSEN
State Superintendent of Public Instruction President, State Board of Education
cc: Advisory Commission on Special Education