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Meeting Minute Summary March 2013

Advisory Commission on Special Education March 2013 Meeting Summary.

Item 1, Standing Committees

The Policy Review and Development and Legislation Standing Committees met separately to discuss areas of interest.

Item 2, Standing Committee Reports

Commissioners Burness and Plate reported on the recommendations of the Policy Review and Development Standing Committee.

A motion was duly made and carried recommending approval of proposed Title 5 amendments, as presented by the California Department of Education (CDE), including language listed on the first Errata sheet related to Speech and Language Impairments and on the updated Errata sheet related to Specific Learning Disabilities, with some exceptions/additions and items that require further clarification and/or examination. (Complete text not available for Web viewing.)

Commissioner Schulman reported on the Legislation Standing Committee’s recommended updates to the Advisory Commission on Special Education’s (ACSEs) legislative platform. By motion duly made and carried, the updated legislative platform was approved.

Item 3, Public Comment

Linda McNulty spoke to implementing inclusion programs in California.

Kelly Young, parent of a student with disabilities (SWD) and Executive Director of Warmline Family Resource Center, spoke to special education successes for her student and family and the importance of special education resources for parents.

Item 4, Proposed 2013–14 State Budget

With respect to funding for education, the following reports were provided:

  • Carol Bingham, Government Affairs Division, CDE

Ms. Bingham reported that the Governor’s budget proposes the Local Control Funding Formula (Formula) to replace the current K–12 finance system including revenue limits and most state categorical programs. A 1.65 percent cost-of-living-adjustment is proposed for special education.

  • Chris Essman, Education Programs Consultant, Special Education Division, CDE

Mr. Essman reported that the proposed budget includes an increase in state funding for special education but that federal funds remain flat. However, due to sequestration, federal funds for special education will decrease.

  • Rachel Ehlers, Legislative Analyst’s Office, Education Unit

Ms. Ehlers reported that the proposed budget maintains a “baseline” for most state programs and contains five major new proposals: 1) Increases Proposition 98 spending by $2.7 billion; 2) proposes a new allocation formula for K–12 schools; 3) uses Proposition 39 funding for projects at schools and community colleges; 4) increases funding for the University of California and the California State University; and 5) expands Medi-Cal coverage to implement the federal Affordable Care Act. Further, an overview of the existing special education funding system was provided.

  • Vicki L. Barber, Ed.D. Superintendent, El Dorado County Office of Education

Dr. Barber provided an administrative perspective of the transition from the existing K–12 school funding model to the Governor’s Formula.

Public comment: Danielle Mole California Alliance of Child and Family Services spoke to funding for educationally related mental health services.

Item 5, State Board of Education Update

Carl Cohn, California State Board of Education (SBE) and SBE liaison to the ACSE spoke to the Governor’s proposed Local Control Funding Formula for education and on general matters to be heard at the upcoming SBE meeting.

Debbie Look, Principal Assistant, read a statement from Assemblymember Joan Buchanan that spoke to ensuring the needs of students with disabilities are met generally and throughout the process of adopting and implementing new curriculum standards and assessments in California in particular.

Item 6, Supporting the Needs of California Students

Janelle Kubinec, Director of National, State, and Special Projects for the Comprehensive School Assistance Program at WestEd, reported on the state’s efforts to effectively and efficiently support the needs of all California students, including subgroups such as SWDs.

Motion duly made and carried in support of presenting Ms. Kubinec’s report to the SBE, using the report/information for messaging to all ACSE stakeholders, and to include the report/information in the Annual Report.

Item 7, Commissioner Reports

Commissioners provided brief reports on their activities related to the ACSE and their stakeholder groups.

Item 8, Report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office

Rachel Ehlers, principal author of an Overview of Special Education in California, reported on behalf of the Legislative Analyst’s Office, a nonpartisan office which provides fiscal and policy information and advice to the Legislature.

The report External link opens in new window or tab. provides a high-level review of special education laws, services, delivery models, funding formulas, and outcomes. In almost all of these areas, special education is characterized by the complex interplay of policies and practices at the federal, state, and local levels. The report concludes that developing a more thorough understanding of how California’s disabled students are served is the first step towards improving their educational outcomes.

Item 9, Students and Families in the Deaf Community

Advisory Commission on Special Education member Jaclyn Vincent presented information on current issues pertaining to students and families in the deaf community including early hearing and detection services, deaf and hard of hearing programs, educational interpreters, and bilingualism.

Item 10, Grazer Outstanding Achievement in Learning (GOAL) Award

Motion duly made and carried to:

  1. Confer the 2012–13 GOAL award to CHIME Institute’s Schwarzenegger Community School (a fully-inclusive program Woodland Hills, California; and
  2. Include the two entries that tied for second place, Seneca Center All-in program (multi-tiered system of support) and Project SEARCH (adult transition), in the ACSE’s annual report.

Item 11, Organizational Input

Joyce Childs, California Association of Resource Specialists Plus (CARS+), thanked the CDE staff for its participation at the CARS+ annual conference recently held in Oakland, California and for its support for special educators in general.

Jane Floethe-Ford, California parent information and training center, spoke to a particular concern that monolingual Spanish speaking families are not receiving their students’ individualized education programs translated in their primary language. Further, she spoke to the benefits of fully implementing the intent of SB 511 (Family Empowerment Centers) throughout California.

Kelly Connell Sandler, California Teachers Association (CTA) liaison, thanked the ACSE for allowing the CTA’s input on proposed amendments to Title 5 regulations. Further, she spoke to concerns about excessive caseloads for resource specialists and the unintended consequences of adding teaching or subject area authorizations to existing credentials.

Jan Mangini, California School Employees Association, announced the 16th annual Para educator’s conference in San Jose, April 10–12, 2013, and spoke to SB 590 (De León) School personnel: Classified School Employee Staff Development and Training Program.

July Holsinger, representing California special education local plan area (SELPA) directors, spoke generally about maintaining a balance between funding, personnel, and implementation of services to meet the needs of students with disabilities.

Pat Moran, Pearson educational consulting, spoke to discrepancies with California’s specific learning disability category, in relation to minority students in particular.

Item 12, Nominations for 2013–14 ACSE Officers

Self- nomination forms were distributed to all commission members present, excluding student commissioners, for members to indicate their willingness to serve as Chair, Vice Chair, or neither. In accordance with the ACSE bylaws, the election of officers will be held at the May meeting.

Item 13, National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) and Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC)

Kristen Brown, Education Programs Consultant, Special Education Division, CDE provided an update on NCSC and SBAC as relates to children with special needs.

Item 14, Report on the State Special Schools

Scott Kerby, Director, State Special Schools and Services Division, CDE, reported on California’s diagnostic centers, schools for the deaf and blind, and the Positive Environment Network of Trainers (PENT).

Item 15, Report from the State Director of Special Education

Fred Balcom, Director, Special Education Division, provided a report to the ACSE. He noted that: (1) the state’s system of monitoring special education compliance in schools and districts is being enhanced; (2) due to a concern that out of state facilities serving California students with disabilities lack appropriate criminal background clearance for staff, a legislative remedy is being considered to address privacy versus safety issues; (3) the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) is concerned with most if not all of the same issues that the ACSE identifies with; (4) by participating in the NASDSE, he is able to represent the ACSE’s concerns at the national level; and (5) the Public School Accountability Act (PSAA) advisory committee is wrestling with options for incorporating graduation data (i.e. weighing student achievement scores) into the Academic Performance Index. A handout was provided and ACSE members encouraged to contact Dr. Balcom with input.

Item 16, Overview of ACSE membership roles and responsibilities

The following documents were disseminated in order to orient new ACSE members to their roles and responsibilities: (1) ACSE by-laws; (2) authorizing ACSE federal and state statute; (3) The Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act; (4) The SpecialEDge; (5) Robert’s Rules of Order External link opens in new window or tab.; (6) ACSE Web page; and (7) member directory.

A travel and reimbursement guideline document is forthcoming via e-mail.

Item 17, Future Agenda Items

Individual ACSE members identified the following matters for consideration at the May 2013 meeting for information and/or action: (1) Community of Practice and WorkAbility; (2) supporting/opposing the Governor’s budget; (3) guidance to the field on multi-tiered systems of support; (4) behavior intervention plans (BIP) and proposed revisions to the BIP mandate requirements.

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