Co-Chairs: Amy DiMatteo, Susan Sutherland
Secretary: Stacey Tempesta
Treasurer: Rose Martin
At Large Members: Marina Lanni-Cucchi, Donna Donovan, Johana Rodriques
The name of this organization shall be the Waltham Special Education Parent Advisory Council, also known as Waltham SEPAC (hereinafter referred to as “SEPAC”).”
The SEPAC receives its statutory authority from the Chapter 71B, Section 3 of the Massachusetts General Laws. This authority is also codified in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR), 603 CMR 28.07(4).
The SEPAC’s duties include, but are not limited to:
- Advising the district on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities;
- Meeting regularly with school officials; and
- Participating in the planning, development, and evaluation of the school district’s special education programs.
The mission of the SEPAC is to work for understanding of, respect for, and support of all children with special needs in the community. To that end, they will work to:
- Advise the School Committee on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities;
- Meet regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development and evaluation of the School Committee’s special education programs;
- Assist the district in coordinating the presentation of at least one workshop annually within the school district on the rights of students and their parents and guardians under state and federal special education laws;
- Promote a support network of parents of children with special needs, and provide educational/informational forums to parents, educators, students and professionals;
- Promote communication between SEPAC members, local, State and National organizations, councils and groups;
- Promote communication and programs within the community to encourage understanding, acceptance and inclusion of special needs children.
The Waltham SEPAC shall be non-commercial, non-sectarian and non-partisan. The name of this organization, or the name of any of its members in their official capacities, shall not be used in connection with any commercial concern or any partisan interest, or for any purpose other than the regular work of the organization.
Section One: General Membership
General Membership shall be open to any interested person.
Section Two: Voting Membership
Voting membership shall be limited to any general member who
a) is a parent or guardian of a special needs student residing in Waltham, with or without an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan, and
b) who has attended at least one meeting of the SEPAC during the past twelve months, or
c) has requested voting status in writing to the Secretary at least one month prior to officer elections.
d) A student not less than fourteen (14) years of age who is on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Accommodation Plan from the City of Waltham.
As used in these by-laws, the word “member” means general members, voting members or both, as the context indicates.
Section One: The Executive Board of the SEPAC shall be comprised of two equal Co-Chairs (Co-Presidents), Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Past Co-Chair, and two (2) or more At Large Members. All Executive Board members shall be voting members of the SEPAC, elected or appointed per the provisions of Article VI. Officers may, from time to time, delegate any of their duties to another officer.
Section Two: The duties of the Executive Board shall include:
- Set the agenda for each general meeting.
- Preside at all meetings of the SEPAC.
- Recommend the organization and monitor the function of committees and subcommittees and appoint committee members.
- Act as liaison between parents of students with disabilities or suspected disabilities and the Administrator of Special Education.
- Monitor compliance with the By-Laws and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Regulations.
- Prepare periodic reports for the Administrator of Pupil Personnel regarding SEPAC activities and needs.
- Represent and speak on behalf of the SEPAC at meetings of the School Committee Make an annual presentation to the School Committee.
- Coordinate public communications (if needed), not including those communications that are the Secretary’s.
- Coordinate all communication between SEPAC and its membership.
- Maintain a list of the voting members and a list of general members.
- Maintain an accurate attendance log of meeting attendees.
- Coordinate the recording, filing and posting of minutes of the SEPAC and its committees.
- Collect and review all correspondence of the SEPAC.
- Will act as liaison with district School Business Administrator. Will develop and maintain an ongoing budget for speakers and operating expenses.
- Shall keep a full and accurate account of receipts and expenditures, and in accordance with the budget adopted by the organization.
- Shall arrange disbursements as authorized by the SEPAC Executive Board or SEPAC.
- Disbursement for non-budgeted items must be approved by the SEPAC Executive Board and is limited to $50.00.
- Disbursement for non-budgeted items exceeding this amount can only be approved by a majority vote of voting members at the monthly SEPAC meeting.
- Shall present a financial statement at all SEPAC meetings and at other times when requested.
- Coordinate efforts with Executive Board Members and the School District to apply for grants, donations, reimbursements or any other funds for which the District be eligible and keep records of all grants applied for and received.
At Large Members
These are not elected positions and filled by two (2) or more members who shall:
Ensure schools are welcoming to all families and establish more inclusive and culturally informed support networks for parents.
Encourage parent advocacy and promote parental involvement in their children’s education.
Liaison with the Parent Information Center staff, PTO’s, and City Wide PTO, to provide information in different languages about the SEPAC at school activities, open houses and monthly meetings.
Bring forth individual school concerns/questions/needs to the SEPAC Executive Board for discussion.
Are fully vested in all voting rights as a member of the board.
Immediate Past Co-Chair
This is not an elected position, however, one based on competent transition planning who shall:
- Act as the consultant to SEPAC, the historian, and transition specialist to ensure the continuity of SEPAC.
- Chairs the Nominating Committee and assists in identifying prospective qualified candidates.
- Mentors new SEPAC Executive Board members and potential leaders.
- Represents SEPAC upon request of the Co-Chairs.
All decisions requiring a vote will be made by simple majority (50% plus one) of the voting members present. Each voting member is entitled to one (1) vote per motion. At any SEPAC meeting, at least three (3) voting members must be present in order to cast a vote.
- If the voting membership is less than 50, a quorum shall be at least 50% (rounding down) of the voting membership.
- If the voting membership is greater than 50, a quorum shall be 30% (rounding down) of the voting membership.
Officers of the SEPAC are elected by the voting membership and hold office for two (2) years. Elections shall occur by ballot every other year at the annual Spring meeting. All voting members are eligible to make nominations. If any office becomes vacant, an election for that office shall be held (by special meeting, at the next monthly meeting, provided notice is posted), with term to expire at the end of next elections.
Section One: Election Procedure
- In the spring (March/April) of an election year, the SEPAC Executive Board, by simple majority vote, shall appoint the Election Coordinator. The Election Coordinator will not be anyone who is running for office since the person holding this position must be an impartial party. Any person from the General Membership, who has previously attended a SEPAC meeting may volunteer. The Election Coordinator shall seek individuals interested in being on the SEPAC Executive Board which may include, but is not limited to the following avenues: posting at City Hall, electronic nomination form, on the SEPAC website, email, SEPAC flyer sent home in student’s backpack, announcements in local paper and social media networks.
- The Election Coordinator shall present a list of names and the position sought on the SEPAC Executive Board to the General Membership and will set up a meeting so each candidate wishing to be on the SEPAC Executive Board shall attend that meeting and present a brief introduction of his/herself. In the event that a candidate cannot attend this meeting she/he may prepare a written statement to be read on his/her behalf by the Election Coordinator.
- SEPAC official voting ballots with candidates’ names and position will be made available to attendees and including, but not limited to the following avenues: posting at City Hall, electronic nomination form, the SEPAC website, email, SEPAC flyer sent home in student’s backpack, announcements in local paper and social media networks
Section Two: Election Results
- The Election Coordinator shall provide SEPAC official voting ballots to voting members in attendance at the annual Spring meeting of an election year who have not previously voted and added to those collected.
- Elections shall be decided by a simple majority vote of the voting membership, subject to the presence of a quorum.
- The Election Coordinator shall announce the results of the election and they shall take office immediately.
- The Election Coordinator shall notify the school district of the outcome of the elections and the names, addresses and phone numbers of the new board by June 1st of each year.
Meetings are defined as any SEPAC meeting, activities, or committee meeting at which a quorum is met. The number of meetings to be held each year and the dates of those meetings shall be determined annually by the Executive Board. Advance notice of any and all meetings and elections will be published/posted with a minimum of 48 hours advance notice and comply with the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law regulations.
Minutes of all SEPAC meetings shall be recorded and posted in accordance with the Massachusetts Public Records law.
The SEPAC shall hold an Annual Meeting of the voting members every other year for the purpose of electing officers and to vote on any matters as shall be specified in the notice of such meeting.
Any member of the Executive Board who has a financial, personal, or official interest in, or conflict (or appearance of a conflict) with any matter pending before the SEPAC, of such nature that it prevents or may prevent that member from acting on the matter in an impartial manner, will offer to the Board to voluntarily excuse him/herself and will vacate his seat and refrain from discussion and voting on said item.
These by-laws may be amended by a simple majority of the voting members at a general meeting, but by-law changes may not be voted upon in the same meeting as they are proposed, unless a quorum (as described in Article V) votes unanimously to approve the change.
If the SEPAC Executive Board is no longer functioning with a minimum of three (3) members, SEPAC must notify the Administrator of Pupil Personnel and the SPED Administrators.
Roberts Rules of Order are the default procedures for this organization.
By-Laws of the Waltham Special Education Parent Advisory Council
Adopted: June 12, 2012
MA Open Meeting Law Guide
Robert's Rules of Order
Guidance for Special Education Parent Advisory Councils (2010)
Making it Happen: Question and Answer Guide for Special Education Parent Advisory Councils (1992)
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