Programming in the Least Restrictive Environment Administrative Procedures
Maine School Administrative District No. 31
PROGRAMMING IN THE LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE
Determinations regarding least restrictive programming may be made by the student’s Pupil Evaluation Team (PET) in the following manner:
A. The PET should first assess whether education in the regular classroom, with the use of supplementary aids and services,
can be achieved satisfactorily. In making that determination, the PET should assess each of the following factors:
1. What supplementary aids and services may assist the student in obtaining a satisfactory education in the regular
Supplementary aids and services may include, but are not limited to, resource room services, itinerant services,
assistive technology services, modifications of curriculum, use of teacher aides, and consultation services from special
When assessing supplementary aids and services, the PET need not order placement in the regular classroom if it would
require modification of the regular curriculum beyond recognition or would result in the student not having to learn any
of the skills normally taught in that regular education curriculum.
2. A comparison of the benefits the student would receive in the regular education classroom with those that the student
would receive in a more restrictive setting, such as a self-contained program.
The assessment of benefits should consider both academic and social benefits of participation in the placement at issue.
The PET should also assess academic and social detriments for the student that may arise from the placement at issue.
In some circumstances, large social benefits of regular education may outweigh small academic benefits, just as large
academic benefits of a more restrictive setting may outweigh small social benefits of a regular education placement.
3. What effect would placement of the student in the regular classroom have on other students in the classroom?
The PET need not place a student in the regular classroom when the student’s behavior, even with supplementary aids
and services, would be so disruptive that the education of other students is significantly impaired. Nor would the PET
need to place the student in the regular classroom when the student would require so much of the teacher or the aide’s
time that the rest of the class suffers.
4. What the financial cost would be of the supplementary aides and services accompanying an appropriate placement in the
Placement in the regular classroom may not be rejected under this factor simply because it would be incrementally more
expensive than placement in a more restrictive setting. Yet the District need not educate a student in the regular
classroom if the cost of such a placement would significantly impact upon the education of other students. In most
circumstances, the District need not place a student in the regular classroom if such placement requires that the student
have his/her own full-time teacher.
B. If the PET determines after assessing the above factors that the student is unable to be educated satisfactorily in the regular
classroom with supplementary aids and services, the PET shall then determine the maximum extent of mainstreaming that the
student may appropriately receive.
In making this determination, the PET shall consider the full continuum of alternative placements - such as placing the student
in regular education for some academic classes and in special education for others, mainstreaming the student for
nonacademic classes only, or providing interaction with non-disabled students during lunch and recess.
In making placement determinations, the PET shall attempt to give preference to placements in the student’s neighborhood
school district. When the special services needed by the student are sufficiently specialized or expensive that they are
provided by the District only in a school building other than the student’s neighborhood school, the PET may place that student
in the school where the specialized services exist, rather than replicate those services in the neighborhood school. This
determination should not impact, in most circumstances, on the PET’s determination regarding the extent to which the
student is able to participate in regular education.
Placements in residential programs shall be made only when the PET determines that the student is not otherwise able to
receive some educational benefit from a day program.
Legal Reference: 20 USC § 1412(a)(5)
34 CFR §§ 300.550-.552
Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. Ch. 101 §§ 11.1-11.3 (Nov. 1999)
Cross Reference: IHBAG – Programming in the Least Restrictive Environment
First Reading: 11/19/2003