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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Continuum of alternative placements (Sec. 300.115)

Comment: One commenter recommended revising Sec. 300.115 so that only the specific allowable alternative settings listed in the definition of special education in new Sec. 300.39 (proposed Sec. 300.38) (i.e., classroom, home, hospitals, institutions) are permitted.

Discussion: Section 300.115 requires each public agency to ensure that a continuum of alternative placements (including instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions) is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services. The list of placement options in this section only expands the settings mentioned in new Sec. 300.39 (proposed Sec. 300.38) by recognizing the various types of classrooms and settings for classrooms in which special education is provided. This continuum of alternative placements is intended to ensure that a child with a disability is served in a setting where the child can be educated successfully in the LRE.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter suggested adding language to the regulations to clarify that difficulty recruiting and hiring qualified special education teachers does not relieve an LEA of its obligation to ensure a continuum of alternative placements and to offer a full range of services to meet the needs of children with disabilities.

Discussion: We do not believe it is necessary to include the language suggested by the commenter, because Sec. 300.116 is sufficiently clear that placement decisions must be based on the individual needs of each child with a disability. Public agencies, therefore, must not make placement decisions based on a public agency's needs or available resources, including budgetary considerations and the ability of the public agency to hire and recruit qualified staff.

Changes: None.

Comment: A few commenters recommended revising Sec. 300.115(a) to clarify that the continuum of alternative placements must be available to eligible preschool children with disabilities.

Discussion: It is not necessary to revise Sec. 300.115(a) in the manner suggested by the commenters. Section 300.116 clearly states that the requirements for determining the educational placement of a child with a disability include preschool children with disabilities and that such decisions must be made in conformity with the LRE provisions in Sec. Sec. 300.114 through 300.118. This includes ensuring that a continuum of services is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services.

Changes: None.