Press Release: Parents will organize Special Education Advisory Council

Somerset/Berkley – On Thursday, May 3, 2012, Somerset Berkley Regional School Committee heard from the Administration and Somerset PACE regarding the formation of a new Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) for the regional District.  SEPAC organizations are district-wide parent driven organizations, similar to a PTO or School Council, mandated by the Federal and State Departments of Education to fulfill the requirement of Parent Participation according to No Child Left Behind. SEPACS are charged with advising the local school committees and district administrations on matters of special education compliance, programming and student needs.  

The concern was raised to the SB Regional School Committee by Somerset PACE on March 9th after a parent expressed concern that meetings were that were taking place directed by the Administration at the Somerset Berkley Regional High School to form a Regional SEPAC, which is, according to State Ethics Law and state guidelines, a conflict of interest.  These meetings were initiated without the involvement or knowledge of the School Committee, and attended by invitation only in violation of Open Meeting Law.  Neither of the existing SEPAC organizations in Somerset and Berkley were informed nor invited to the meetings.

The issue was originally discussed in a Regional School Committee meeting on April 12th.  The three meetings had been attended by a small group of high school parents who were all residents of Somerset. Mr. Medeiros, school Superintendent, urged the Committee to designate Susan Doe, Special Education Director, to be put in charge of the parent group but the discussion was tabled until representatives from all groups could be present to share their ideas and information. 

In the meeting on May 3rd, after reviewing the documentation and hearing reports from the Administration and Somerset PACE, the Committee decided to put the control of the organization of the new PAC back into the hands of the high school parents, stating that the administration is no longer to have a role in the organization or direction of PAC activities.  A letter will be sent home to all families of children in Somerset and Berkley who have children on Individual Education Programs (IEP) and receiving special education supports and services, and a public notice of a first meeting will be made.  Somerset PACE offered to support and mentor this new group.

The report made by Somerset PACE and supplemental documentation is available on their website at

Additional information
(this issue comes up at 1 hour 21 minutes)

PACE Report
Additional Correspondence and Documents


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