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What is a SEPAC?

What is a SEPAC?

A SEPAC is a Special Education Parent Advisory Council. Every public school district in Masssachusetts is required to establish a SEPAC. Massachusetts state law assigns both an advisory and participatory function to SEPACs.

A SEPAC is a public body which serves as an adviser to the School Committee on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities. In addition, the SEPAC has a duty to meet regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development and evaluation of the district’s special education programs.

The SEPAC is a self-governing body (creates its own by-laws and operational procedures) and is open to all parents of children with disabilities and other interested parties.

A SEPAC is different from a PTA, PTO or School Council – it does not represent families from one school, but serves all families of children with special needs from the entire school district.

MASSACHUSETTS STATE LAW REGARDING SPECIAL EDUCATION PARENT ADVISORY COUNCILS (SEPACs)

MASSACHUSETTS STATUTE:
Chapter 71B: Section 3. Identification of school age children with a disability; diagnosis of disability; proposal of program; evaluations and assessments of child and program

The school committee of any city, town, or school district shall establish a parent advisory council on special education. Membership shall be offered to all parents of children with disabilities and other interested parties. The parent advisory council duties shall include but not be limited to: advising the school committee 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 committee’s special education programs. The parent advisory council shall establish by-laws regarding officers and operational procedures. In the course of its duties under this section, the parent advisory council shall receive assistance from the school committee without charge, upon reasonable notice, and subject to the availability of staff and resources.

Chapter 71: Section 1C. Workshops on rights of students and their parents under special education laws of the commonwealth and the federal government

Each school district shall conduct, in cooperation with the local parent advisory council, at least one workshop annually within the school district on the rights of students and their parents and guardians under the special education laws of the commonwealth and the federal government and shall make written materials explaining such rights available upon request.

MASSACHUSETTS REGULATIONS:
603 CMR 28:07(4)
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.

603 CMR 28:03 (1)(a)(iv)
The district shall conduct, in cooperation with the parent advisory council, 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.