SEPAC Bylaws

ARTICLE I: Name

The name of this self-governed organization shall be the Whitman-Hanson Special

Education Parent Advisory Council, also known as the Whitman-Hanson SEPAC.

ARTICLE II: Purpose

The purpose of the Whitman-Hanson SEPAC is to work to develop the understanding, respect, and support of all students and families of students with special needs in the Whitman-Hanson community. To that end, they will work to:

  • Provide and promote a network for all parents/guardians of students with special needs and a forum for sharing ideas and information
  • Provide information on rights and responsibilities under state and federal Special Education laws and regulations to parents/guardians of students with special needs
  • Promote cooperation and communication among parents/guardians of students with special needs and the Whitman-Hanson School District
  • Provide and promote opportunities for parents/guardians to learn to effectively support and advocate for their child with school personnel
  • Advise the school district on matters that pertain to the education, health, and safety of students with special needs
  • Meet regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of special education programs as to collaboratively improve the quality and appropriateness of these programs
  • Communicate regularly with the Director of Special Education and/or Assistant Superintendent, where applicable to discuss concerns of parents/guardians and the activities of SEPAC
  • Seek out and share information relating to organizations, programs, and resources within the community which provide education and/or support for students, families of students, educators and other professionals involved with students with special needs
  • Promote communication and programs within the community to encourage understanding, acceptance, and inclusion of students with special needs

ARTICLE III: Authority

The Whitman-Hanson SEPAC receives its authority from Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 71B, Section 3 and the Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR), 603 CMR 28.07(4)

ARTICLE IV: Membership

Membership shall include both general and voting members. General membership shall be open to any resident of the Whitman-Hanson school district including parents, guardians, educators, and other parties interested in the special education of Whitman-Hanson students.

Voting membership shall be limited to:

  • Parent/guardian of a student in the Whitman-Hanson school district currently eligible to receive special education services and/or on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan
  • Student in the district who is at least fourteen (14) years of age and is currently eligible to receive special education services and/or is on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan.
  • Meetings are defined as any Whitman-Hanson SEPAC activity that has been publicized and at which attendance is taken.

ARTICLE V: SEPAC Board

The group of elected officers shall be referred to as the Board and shall include two Co- Chairpersons, Secretary, Treasurer, and whenever possible, one Representative from each of the schools in the district as well as an Out-of-District representative. Any member of the Whitman-Hanson SEPAC voting membership is eligible to be elected to the board. Officer positions shall include the following key responsibilities:

Co-Chairpersons:

  • Set the agenda for all general SEPAC meetings and SEPAC board meetings
  • Coordinate and lead all SEPAC meetings and elections
  • Act as liaison between the SEPAC and Director of Special Education and/or Assistant Superintendent where applicable.
  • Recommend the organization and monitoring of any SEPAC sub-committees
  • Oversee the approval and distribution of information and materials from SEPAC
  • Act as main contact person for new or interested SEPAC participants and provide introduction and welcome to basic purpose of SEPAC
  • Distribute approved information and materials from SEPAC
  • Collect information from SEPAC members and organizations in the community on educational and/or support opportunities and events.
  • Share information with members of SEPAC regarding upcoming educational and/or support opportunities and events in the community
  • Keep Social Media (Facebook and Twitter) current with news, information, and workshop/meeting announcements.
  • Work with School Representatives to include SEPAC updates in school bulletins
  • Manage SEPAC email account

Secretary

  • Draft and forward meeting agendas to Co-Chairpersons
  • Post meeting notices and agendas according to state Open Meeting Law
  • Record meeting minutes for purposes of public posting
  • Maintain meeting attendance logs
  • Coordinate postings of meeting notices, agendas, and minutes with Co-Chairpersons according to state Open Meeting Law and Public Records Law

Treasurer

  • 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 Executive Board or SEPAC. Distributions for non-budgeted items must be approved by the Executive Board and is limited to $50.00. Disbursement for non-budgeted items exceeding this amount must be approved by a majority vote of the members at the monthly SEPAC meeting
  • Shall present a financial statement at least annually at SEPAC meetings and at other times when requested
  • Coordinate efforts to apply for grants, donations, reimbursements, or any other funds which the SEPAC is eligible

School or Town Representatives:

· Bring forward any questions, concerns, needs, or issues specific to the school they represent to the SEPAC board for inclusion on meeting agenda

  • Communicate approved information and materials from SEPAC to their representative school

ARTICLE VI: Nominations & Elections

Nominations (volunteer or otherwise) for Officers of the board will be accepted annually, preferably at the April meeting or as needed to fill a vacant position. Nominated individuals will need to notify the current Co-Chairpersons of their decision to accept or decline their nomination prior to the election meeting. Elections will be held annually, at the May or next scheduled meeting following a nomination to fill an open position. Elections can be held by a verbal vote of agreement by the voting membership if the position(s) are uncontested. If contested, elections shall be held by ballot and decided by a simple majority vote. The current Co-Chairpersons and Secretary shall count the votes and announce the results. New officers will assume their responsibilities immediately following their election and will hold the position for a period of one year.

ARTICLE VII: Meetings

SEPAC meetings are subject to open meeting laws and will be held in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 39, Sections 23A-23C. Every effort shall be made to hold regular SEPAC meetings and/or presentations on the second Tuesday of each month from September through June. Regular meetings shall be held in the Whitman-Hanson Regional High School Library unless otherwise noted on posted meeting notices. All meetings will be conducted by at least one of the Co-Chairpersons, who will set the agenda, determine the length of discussions, and conduct voting when necessary. In the absence of both Co- Chairpersons, the Secretary shall conduct the meeting. Any agenda items which require a vote shall be noted as such on the agenda and may include, but are not limited to:

  • Elections
  • Proposed changes to the By-laws
  • SEPAC notices to be posted in the community
  • Commitment of SEPAC financial resources
  • Roberts Rules of Order are the default procedures for this organization.
  • These By-laws were voted on and accepted by the Whitman-Hanson SEPAC on 9/11/18.

Drafted: 3/27/2018

Accepted: 4/10/2018

Revised: 9/11/2018

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