minutes 2008 Jan 9

Page 1 of 3

ACTON-BOXBOROUGH SPECIAL EDUCATION PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Meeting Minutes

I. Call to Order. The meeting was called to order by Nancy Sherburne.

The meeting attendees were: Nancy Sherburne, Paul Clough, Kelly Clough, Xuan Kong,

Steve Lowe, Mike Coppolino, Matthew Kidder, Mary Emmons and Srabani Banerjee.

II. Farewell to Paul and Kelly Clough: This was Paul and Kelly’s last meeting as Executive

Board members and the Board bade them farewell. Nancy thanked Paul and Kelly who had

been instrumental in getting the PAC back up and running. They brought a huge amount of

energy and enthusiasm to the task and will be very dearly missed. The Board members

wished them good luck with their upcoming move.

III. Approval of Minutes. The minutes from the Dec 5, 2007 Executive Board Meeting were

presented for approval.

Steve asked that action items be bolded/underscored so that it is easier to find them. Srabani

agreed to follow this for future minutes.

Paul motioned to approve the minutes. Steve seconded the motion and the minutes were

unanimously approved.

IV. Organization/Business Issues

A. SPED PAC Flyer for Early Intervention Services. Lisa Holt has talked to the

Director of Early Intervention and she will distribute the flyer to the EI families. It

was suggested that it would be good if Carol Huebner could also share these with

preschool families.

Action Item: Mary/Matthew will take this suggestion back to Carol Huebner.

B. Parent Handbook Nancy distributed a revised cost estimate for printing and

distribution of the parent handbook. She asked Mike if he was comfortable with the

revised cost after removing the binders. Mike thought that the number was

reasonable and said he would take the information forward to the school committee.

Kelly said that there were Title I funds available to schools to support school-parent

communications – perhaps some of those would be available for this task. Nancy

mentioned that Boxborough had funded their parent handbook through a grant from

the DOE to help correct deficiencies found during the district’s most recent

Coordinated Program Review. She also mentioned that she had spoken with Liza

Huber about the possibility of using such funds for this task, but Liza had said there

were none available at this time. Liza did say she could contribute a small amount of

money towards reproduction and distribution of the handbook – perhaps $500, but

that that was all she had available to contribute. Steve asked if Mike would need any

other documentation to take our request forward to the school committee. Nancy

Page 2 of 3

mentioned that Mike had a partial draft of the handbook and Mike felt that should

be enough information. Nancy said that since the mailing costs were low without the

binders, she had not included some of the Board’s previous suggestions like sending

the handbook home in backpacks or asking parents to pick them up from the schools

as these options required a lot of organizational time and complicated the

distribution process. Everyone agreed with this approach.

C. Charitable Organization Status. Paul talked to someone at the state’s Department

of Public Charities. The PAC needs to submit a form to that department to register

as a charitable organization. The first time an organization applies for charitable

status, a long version of the form needs to be submitted, after that the organization

only needs to submit a short form annually. Nancy asked about deadlines and Paul

said that there were no deadlines for submission. Nancy said she thought it was

important for the PAC to register as a charitable organization in order to ask for

donations for individuals and/or run social/fundraising activities like those discussed

with the Acton Museum of Science.

Action Item: Steve will take over this task and file for charitable status on behalf of

the PAC.

D. Transition Task Force Presentation: Francesca was unable to attend this meeting

so the presentation from the Transition Task Force has been postponed until

February.

E. Liza’s Discussion with Bill Ryan Regarding Resolution of Issues: Matthew did

not know if Liza had had a chance to talk with Bill about this issue. Mary asked if

unresolved issues were currently being discussed at school committee meetings.

Nancy said no and explained that the issues we were discussing related to how to

proceed when Pupil Services and the PAC reached an impasse on a topic the PAC

felt an obligation to take forward to the school district. A suggestion had been made

that Mike could act as a third party mediator; however, Liza was concerned that this

might be inappropriate or a conflict of interest for Mike. Steve said that if Bill and

Liza felt this was inappropriate it would be important to ask for their reason why as

it seemed logical in that the PAC’s role is as an advisor to the school committee.

Kelly suggested that Bill be asked for alternatives in case he thought that Mike’s

role would not be appropriate. Mike said he might raise the issue directly with Bill

at this juncture since several months had gone by without a response from Liza.

Action Item: Matthew will check with Liza on this issue.

F. Questionnaire for School Districts on SpEd Costs and Drivers: Mike said that he

was chairing a taskforce for the school committee on special education costs and

drivers. As part of that effort he had created a questionnaire regarding special

education that would be sent to other schools within CASE and EDCO. He shared

the survey and asked for feedback. There was a discussion about the questions

included in the proposed survey. Steve said that some of the information being

Page 3 of 3

asked for was available in the public domain on the DOE’s website; however, he

thought that school districts might not have ready access to other pieces of

information being sought. Nancy thought there was still value in asking for this

information from those districts that do have the information available and are

willing to share it. For example, special education administrators must know

approximately how many students they have with various disabilities in order to

design appropriate programming for students within their school districts. Steve

offered to talk to administrators in other school districts to see how they might

respond to such a questionnaire.

V. Adjournment: Meeting was adjourned.

Comments are closed.