Waivers Relating to School-Age Instruction of Students with Disabilities

Waiver Request Information

Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3301-51-09(K) of the Operating Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities states that a school district, county board of developmental disabilities or other educational agency may request to be granted a waiver from the requirements of OAC 3301-51-09 (I)(2-5). These requirements include exceeding individual service provider ratios (also known as class size or student-to-service provider ratio) or age-range per instructional period.  

Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) who apply for, and are granted a waiver, are required to assure that all students with disabilities receiving services will receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). For the classroom of children that are affected by the waiver, progress will be monitored through their individualized education programs (IEPs). The LEA's Waiver Action Plan and timeline for bringing the district into compliance must include any special provisions necessary to provide appropriate instruction during the period in which the waiver is in effect. FAPE cannot be denied to a student due to the provision of a waiver. A waiver does not prohibit an individual from filing a complaint.  

Before submitting a request for a waiver: 

  • The LEA should consider all possibilities to avoid a waiver, including but not limited to:  staffing, building space(s), and individualized scheduling including LRE.  
  • Waivers should be submitted during the school year in which the district will need the waiver, not prior to the start of the school year.  
  • OAC 3301-51-09 (I)(1) of the Operating Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities regarding workload for individual service providers is not eligible for a waiver.  

Waiver applications must be complete in order to review. This includes all sections of the waiver using student SSID numbers, ages and disability categories. In addition, you will need to submit rationale including actions taken to avoid requesting a waiver, a parent letter  sent to all of the students in the class affected, and supporting documents including but not limited to: instructional schedules, room size, fire marshal report, etc. Also required are superintendent signatures and school board approval. Waiver Action Plans must be written with actionable, attainable goals that will be completed during the requested school year. 

A completed waiver application may be sent directly to OECWaiver@education.ohio.gov with all supporting documents.  

Once you have submitted your waiver application, you will receive confirmation of submission. Once it is reviewed, you will either be approved; or further information may be requested. For approved waivers, implementation of the Waiver Action Plan will be documented and sent to the Department by June 1st of the school year that includes progress overview to show growth for all students affected as well as an update on the district’s compliance. Waivers cannot be requested for consecutive years. For more information on the process after you have an approved waiver application, please see below. 

Once you have received notification that your waiver has been approved: 

  • Implement all students’ IEPs as written and provide FAPE to each student noted within the waiver. 
  • Communicate at any time you may need assistance or if anything changes that impacts the approved waiver or students within the classroom. 
    1. OECwaiver@education.ohio.gov 
  • By June 1, 2024, submit your completed Waiver Action Plan, including: 
    1. Page 1 of the approved waiver 
    2. All Students’ IEP progress on their goals:  
      1. ONLY use SSID numbers (do not include student names) 
      2. Do not need to include all progress reports, but data to show each child made adequate progress; summarize data per student (example could be a chart with SSID numbers and then a percentage for each goal from their present levels to the end of the year, showing an increase in percentage)  
    3. Update on goal submitted on waiver, include the step-by-step process and all actions taken by the district as determined in the goal(s) that have been remedied in order to no longer need a waiver for the following school year. 

You may reach out to the waiver team at any time for support or questions at OECWaiver@education.ohio.gov.  

A Guide to Parent Rights in Special Education
Waiver requests regarding school-age services must be submitted in writing (utilizing this process) to the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, Office for Exceptional Children. The Waiver Guidelines and Waiver Application document below specify the requirements for submitting the waiver request. 

Waiver Guidelines and Waiver Application

Please review the Waiver Guidelines prior to submitting the waiver request.

Legal Services for Low Income Ohioans

Last Modified: 4/12/2024 3:29:38 PM