By-Laws

By-Laws

Sudbury Special Education

Parent Advisory Council

By-Laws

Effective June 14, 2016

BACKGROUND

Massachusetts Regulation 603 CMR 28.07(4):

Parent advisory participation. Each school district shall create a districtwide parent advisory council offering membership to all parents of eligible students and other interested parties. The parent advisory council duties shall include but not be limited to: advising the district on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities; meeting regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development, and evaluation of the school district’s special education programs. The parent advisory council shall establish by-laws regarding officers and operational procedures, and, in the course of its duties, the parent advisory council shall receive assistance from the district without charge, upon reasonable notice, and subject to the availability of staff and resources.”

DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of this document only, the term “parent” will be used to refer to parents as well as to guardians.

ARTICLE I:  NAME OF ORGANIZATION

The name of this organization shall be Sudbury Special Education Parent Advisory Council, also known as Sudbury SEPAC.

ARTICLE II: PURPOSE

The mission of the Sudbury SEPAC is to advocate for the education and safety of all Sudbury students with disabilities in grades Pre-K to 8. To that end, Sudbury SEPAC will work to:

  • Advise the district, including the Director of Student Services and School Committee, on operations and development of special education programs, parent and teacher training needs, and help to develop policy
  • Facilitate communication between parents and school officials
  • Encourage understanding, acceptance, and inclusion of students with disabilities
  • Offer opportunities for parents, educators, students, and professionals to increase their awareness of issues and best practices pertaining to students with disabilities
  • Provide opportunities for parents of students with disabilities to network with each other

ARTICLE III:  MEMBERSHIP

Membership is open to all parents, educators, and other interested residents of Sudbury. One may request membership by emailing the Membership Chair (membership@sudburysepac.org)

ARTICLE IV:  MEETINGS

General meetings shall be held at least four times a year, from September through June.

Notice of all general meeting dates, elections, and events shall be posted on the Sudbury SEPAC Website (http://sudburysepac.org). Meeting minutes shall also be posted on the Website.

Connecting remotely to a meeting via telephone or similar technology, pursuant to Open Meeting Laws, does count as being in attendance. Members needing to connect remotely are advised to make arrangements in advance of the meeting.

ARTICLE V:  OFFICERS

Only Officers or people specifically authorized by an Officer in writing shall act as representatives on behalf of SEPAC. 

Specific Offices and Officers’ responsibilities are described below. Offices may be shared by more than one person. One person may hold more than one office.

Chair

  • Preside at all meetings of Sudbury SEPAC
  • Draft the agenda for each general meeting
  • Post the agenda on the Sudbury SEPAC Website, the Town Clerk, and the Central Office at least 48 hours before each meeting, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.
  • Recommend the creation of and monitor the function of sub-committees
  • Monitor and facilitate the activities of other Officers
  • Monitor compliance with the By-laws and the Department of Education Regulations
  • Transition knowledge and expertise to the next Chair upon end of term
  • Act as liaison with district and school officials and representatives, including the Director of Student Services, the School Committee, the Superintendent, the Principals, and the Educators
  • Lead efforts to advise the district on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities
  • Coordinate regular meetings with school officials to participate in the planning, development, and evaluation of the school district’s special education programs.
  • Funnel parent feedback to the Sudbury SEPAC Board and the Director of Student Services
  • Prepare periodic reports for the Director of Student Services regarding Sudbury SEPAC activities and needs
  • Identify and pursue ways to collaborate on common goals

Vice Chair

  • Participate at all meetings of Sudbury SEPAC
  • Assist the Chair as requested to
    • Monitor the function of sub-committees
    • Facilitate the activities of other Officers
    • Monitor compliance with the By-laws and the Department of Education Regulations
    • Interface with district and school officials and representatives, including the Director of Student Services, the School Committee, the Superintendent, the Principals, and the Educators
    • Support efforts to advise the district on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities
    • Coordinate regular meetings with school officials to participate in the planning, development, and evaluation of the school district’s special education programs.
    • Funnel parent feedback to the Sudbury SEPAC Board and the Director of Student Services
    • Prepare periodic reports for the Director of Student Services regarding Sudbury SEPAC activities and needs
    • Identify and pursue ways to collaborate on common goals

Secretary

  • Draft general meeting minutes and post on the Sudbury SEPAC website
  • Count and record all vote results, and collect absentee votes
  • Maintain the email distribution list
  • Draft newsletters
  • Pass on information about community events and resources applicable to members via the SEPAC email list or Facebook page.

Treasurer

  • Coordinate efforts to apply for grants, donations, reimbursements, or any other funds for which Sudbury SEPAC may be eligible
  • Manage and account for funds collected, donated, and spent for Sudbury SEPAC
  • Verify and disburse expense reimbursements to Officers
  • Coordinate fund-raising activities

Events Coordinator

  • Lead event planning (workshops, presentations, etc.)
  • Lead event scheduling, minimizing conflict with events scheduled by other groups
  • Lead event publicity, including posting the events to the Sudbury SEPAC Calendar, social media, sending out event invites as necessary, and creating paper flyers
  • Coordinate event logistics, including reserving event space, providing refreshments if needed, ensure that needed supplies are present
  • Attend events and introduce the speaker
  • Recruit assistance from membership and community

Membership Coordinator

  • Lead efforts to encourage parents to get more involved in Sudbury SEPAC
  • Coordinate efforts to recruit parents from each school, program, and out-of-district placements to become members
  • Encourage and/or enable networking between members
  • Maintain the list of members
  • Plan social events for parents

Technology Coordinator

  • Research, select, deploy, and improve technologies used by Sudbury SEPAC

ARTICLE VI:  LIAISONS

Liaisons are not Officers, but they serve a valuable role in increasing communication and collaboration between the Officers and other organizations. Liaisons are to be appointed and removed as agreed by the Officers during a meeting, or they may resign. SEPAC is not required to have Liaisons. Liaisons are encouraged to attend board meetings, but if they cannot attend a meeting, they may communicate their status update to the Chair in advance.

CRANE Liaison

  • Serve as liaison to Sudbury Lincoln CRANE (Community Resource Awareness Network).
  • Identify and pursue ways to collaborate on common goals

Neighboring SEPACs Liaison (e.g. Lincoln, Acton-Boxborough, Wayland, etc.)

  • Stay involved with SEPACs in neighboring and comparable towns
  • Research and report on best practices we can learn from them pertaining to the education and safety of students with disabilities
  • Identify and pursue ways to collaborate on common goals 

SPS PTO Liaison

  • Attend the monthly meeting with the PTO Co-Chairs, Superintendent, SERF, and representatives from similar organizations. Relay information to and from SEPAC.
  • Identify and pursue ways to collaborate on common goals

School Liaison (e.g. Curtis, Haynes, Loring, Nixon, Noyes)

  • Stay involved with the PTO, including attending PTO meetings
  • Identify and pursue ways to collaborate on common goals
  • Serve as the first line of contact for questions and concerns from parents at that school, raising concerns to the SEPAC Officers as needed

Out of District Liaison

  • Serve as first line of contact for questions and concerns from parents with children at out-of-district placements, raising concerns to the SEPAC Officers as needed
  • Identify and pursue ways to include families of students with out-of-district placements in district events
  • Research and report on best practices we can learn from out-of-district placements regarding the education and safety of students with disabilities.

ARTICLE VII:  ELECTIONS, REFERENDA, AND VOTING

Elections are for filling an office, and Referenda are for removing someone from office.

Once per year, either at the end or beginning of the school year, Sudbury SEPAC shall hold a general election for all Offices. Officers may also resign or be removed from office. If an office becomes vacant for any reason, the Chair shall appoint an Interim Officer, and an election to fill the vacancy shall be held no later than the next meeting. The Chair shall list the election on the meeting agenda along with the names of the nominees.

Nominations for Officer positions shall be made in advance of the meeting. Any member may make a nomination, and a member may nominate himself or herself.

Any member may request a referendum to remove an Officer from office. The request must be sent to the Chair in writing. The request must include the cause/justification for removal, which shall be shared with the voters. The Chair will add the referendum to the agenda for the next meeting.

Votes shall be cast by a show of hands.

Any member of Sudbury SEPAC is entitled to voting privileges. Each member’s vote has an equal weight.

Members who cannot be present at a voting meeting may arrange to submit their vote to the Secretary in writing in advance of the meeting.

ARTICLE VIII: QUORUM

A quorum is defined as a simple majority of the Officers or Offices, whichever is fewer.

If an Officer is unable to be present at a meeting, that Officer or another Officer may appoint a Liaison to serve as a substitute for him or her at that meeting in order to meet a quorum.

ARTICLE IX:  BY-LAW AMENDMENT PROCEDURES

These By-Laws may be amended at any Sudbury SEPAC meeting, providing that the amendment is submitted in writing in advance of the meeting, and the minimum number of votes are cast (as defined under article “Elections, Referenda, and Voting”).