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 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 groupbut 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 www.somersetpace.org.
(this issue comes up at 1 hour 21 minutes)