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Is there an academic state standard for high school graduation (i.e. what is expected for college entrance)?

Please see 20-A MRSA §4722-A,1 and §6209.
(Added November 2012.)

Does an IEP developed in the 9th grade for a student with a disability which indicates the student will need a 5th year of high school override the four-year cohort issue?

No, it doesn’t. The student will be counted as a “non-graduate” in calculating the graduation rate. Please see “Administrator’s Guide to Maine’s New High School Graduation Rate Calculations” document ( and the question:“How is a student with a disability who has an individualized education program (IEP) that includes a plan to complete graduation requirements in more than four years included in the four-year graduation rate?”
(Added February 2013)

May students with disabilities be put into a five-year cohort?

For purposes of federal indicators, all students in Maine are in the four-year graduation cohort.
(Added February 2013)

What rights do the parents of a special education student (or an adult special education student) have if they believe that the student requires more than four years of high school before graduating?

20-A MRSA §7202 5-A, states that a School Administrative Unit (SAU) shall award a diploma to each child with a disability who successfully meets the content standards of the system of learning results, in addition to any other applicable diploma requirements. If a student with disabilities has earned the required amount of high school credits and met all other requirements, the high school must graduate the student and the parents do not have a right to refuse the diploma. Per the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) §300.102)(a)(3)(i) “The obligation to make FAPE available to all children with disabilities does not apply to:…Children with disabilities who have graduated from high school with a regular education diploma.”

As the IEP Team develops the student’s transition plan, therefore, one consideration should be whether or not the student needs more than four years of secondary education. If the Team agrees that more than four years is required, then the student’s courses of study must be planned so that the student earns the required amount of credits and meets all other graduation requirements over a period of more than four years. If the SAU disagrees with the parents that more than four years is required and consensus is not reached, the SAU may determine that the student will graduate with his/her cohort (which determination will be set forth in a Written Notice) and the parents will have their usual due process rights to challenge this determination.
(Added February 2013)
If the student has refused to accept a diploma but wants to participate in all graduation ceremonies and activities, is the school required to permit this type of participation?

No. The student may not refuse to graduate if the student has met graduation requirements. If the student, nevertheless, refuses to accept the diploma, the school has no obligation to make the graduation ceremonies and activities available to the student.
(Added February 2013)

If a student with disabilities meets all of his/her IEP goals but does not meet the standards in all content areas, may the student receive a regular diploma?

No. 20-A MRSA §4722.3 requires that a student with disabilities meet the content standards and graduation requirements (20-A MRSA §6209.2) in order to receive a regular diploma.
(Added February 2013)

If the school provides voluntary post-graduation services for one student, must the SAU provide all required services to other students in somewhat similar circumstances?

No, although, having set a precedent that such services are potentially available, the SAU may have to explain to other families why they are not available to them. Note that there is no Maine Department of Education subsidy available for such services.
(Added February 2013)

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