Massachusetts requires that "each school district shall create a district wide parent advisory council offering membership to all parents of eligible students and other interested parties".
Article I: Name of Organization
The name of this organization shall be the Ashland Special Education Parent Advisory Council, also known as ASHPAC.
Article II: Purpose of the PAC
The mission of the Ashland Special Education Parent Advisory Council is to work toward the understanding, respect, support and appropriate education for all children with special needs and/or disabilities in the community. ASHPAC 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).
To that end, they will work to:
- Promote and support an innovative educational environment where children with special needs and/or disabilities have equal access to educational opportunities and a school and community environment where all children are encouraged to reach their full potential.
- Promote a network of parents of children with special needs and/or disabilities, and provide the forum to share information.
- Advise the School Committee and Superintendent on operations and development of special education programs, parent and teacher training needs, and help to develop policy.
- Advising the district on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with special needs and/or disabilities.
- Promote communication between ASHPAC members and, local, state and national organizations, councils and groups.
- Promote communication and programs within the community to encourage understanding, acceptance and inclusion.
- Provide informational forums to parents, educators, and professionals.
- Collaborate with the school community to continually improve the educational opportunities available for children with special needs and/or disabilities
Article III: Terms of Membership
General membership shall be open to any resident of Ashland or person affiliated with the Ashland Public Schools who has attended at least one meeting of the Ashland Special Education Parent Advisory Council during the past 12 months. Voting membership is required to vote in annual officer elections and other business that comes before any ASHPAC meeting.
Voting membership shall be any general member (who is a parent or guardian of a child with special needs and/or disabilities) residing in Ashland, with or without an Individual Education Program (IEP) or is a parent or guardian of a child with special needs who attends Ashland Public Schools and who has attended at least one previous meeting of the Ashland Special Education Parent Advisory Council during the past 12 months or has requested voting status in writing to the Secretary at least one month prior to the May ASHPAC meeting.
Meetings are defined as any Ashland Special Education Parent Advisory Council meeting, activities, or committees at which attendance is taken.
Article IV: Officers of the Special Education Parent Advisory Council
Officers of the Ashland Special Education Parent Advisory Council are elected by the voting membership and hold office for one year to two years. Office may be held longer should there be no contest to current board member. If any office becomes vacant, an election for that office shall be held immediately, with term to expire June 30th.
Office and officer responsibilities of the Ashland Special Education Parent Advisory Council are:
- Sets the agenda for each general meeting.
- Presides at all meetings of the Ashland Special Education Parent Advisory Council.
- Recommends the organization and monitoring of sub-committees and parent programs.
- Oversees and coordinates public communications to local media.
- Attends meetings between Director of Student Services, team chairs, and ASHPAC.
- Attends meetings between Director of Student Services, team chairs, and ASHPAC.
- Preside at meetings in the absence of the Chair, or at the request of the Chair
- Coordinate public communications (if needed), not including those communications that are the Secretary's.
- Assist the Chair as appropriate and perform those responsibilities of the Chair at his/her request.
- Act as liaison with the Director of Special Education, the Superintendent of Schools and the Ashland School Committee.
- Coordinate communication between the Ashland Special Education Parent Advisory Council, its Officers and membership.
- Maintain and update names on list serve.
- Review, respond and delegate to incoming correspondence from the ASHPAC email account.
- Advertises workshops and board meetings through the traffic island signs, newspapers, list serve, and schools.
- Organize, compile information, and email ASHPAC announcements, local events, and special education news.
- Reserve space, prepare, and hang/remove island sign for each workshop.
- Provides information for the monthly newsletter from Student services.
- Coordinate distribution of all flyers and newsletters as needed.
- Coordinate the recording and filing of the agenda and minutes of the Ashland Special Education Parent Advisory Council.
- Prepare periodic reports regarding ASHPAC activities and needs upon request.
- Manage and account for funds collected, donated, and spent for Ashland Special Education Parent Advisory Council.
- Coordinate efforts to apply for grants, donations reimbursements or any other funds for which the Ashland Special Education Parent Advisory Council may be eligible.
- Shall arrange disbursements as authorized by the Executive Board.
- Shall present a financial statement at all SEPAC meetings and at other times when requested.
- Assist with the general operations of the organization.
- Assemble team of volunteers to assist with activities, such as open houses and Ashland day.
- Act as liaison between volunteers and board.
- Maintain and update ASHPAC website.
- Oversees all fundraising activities that occur throughout the school year.
- Assemble a team of volunteers to coordinate and manage each individual fundraising activity and act as liaison between volunteers and board.
- Coordinate mailings about fundraising news and deadlines for the list serve and information for principal newsletters.
- Oversees the yearly Senior scholarships.
- Writes the forms and submits to the high school.
- Obtain the forms once complete and bring to board meeting.
All Officers, Parent Representatives, Coordinators, and Members are voting members of the ASHPAC Board.
Important to note for any board position:
- No single person is expected to manage any function of the ASHPAC on his or her own. Board members may solicit coordinators and volunteers to accomplish their assigned goals for the year.
- Co-coordinators are allowed and encouraged.
Article V: Elections
Elections shall be decided by a simple majority vote of the voting membership, subject to the presence of a quorum during the May general meeting. New officers shall take office as of July 1st following their election.
- 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.
- The Department of Education will be informed of the annual elections, with the names, addresses and phone numbers of the new board by July 1 of each year.
- Nominations will be made verbally for each position. The nominees must be present to accept the nomination unless written acceptance has been submitted. If a nomination is accepted and is not contested the nominee will assume the position. In a situation where more than one nominee has accepted the nomination the outcome will be determined by a majority vote.
Article VI: Meetings
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 MA Open Meeting Law regulations.
Minutes of all SEPAC meetings shall be recorded and posted in accordance with the MA Public Records law.
General Meetings/Workshops generally will be held monthly, from September through May. Notice of all general meeting dates and elections shall be published in the local press in advance, posted at Town Hall, posted outside of the Student Services Department, and a notice sent to each voting member whenever possible.
Monthly Meetingswill be attended by the board and are also open to the public.
Notice of all board meeting dates and elections shall be published in the local press in advance, posted at Town Hall, posted outside of the Student Services Department, and a notice sent to each voting member whenever possible.
During the April board, the Chair shall take recommendations for the calendar of meetings for the following school year. The calendar shall include dates and times of the meetings and projected activities for the year.
Matters which require a vote to be taken of the Board include, but are not limited to the following items:
- A commitment of financial resources requires a simple majority of voting members present to:
- Determine the receipt for awarding scholarship to graduating senior.
- Determine and approve of guest speakers for ASHPAC monthly general meetings.
- Approve grant money to teacher.
- Review and administer any financial requests.
- Matters which require a vote to be taken by the voting membership include, but are not limited to the following items:
- A change in the by-laws.
- Elections require a vote as described in Article V, Elections.
Minutes of all Ashland Special Education Parent Advisory Council meetings shall be recorded and retained for public record.
Article VII: Conflict of Interest
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.
Article VIII: Subcommittees
Subcommittees shall be created as needed.
Article IX: Amendments
These by-laws may be amended by a simple majority of the voting members at a monthly meeting and voted upon in the same meeting as they are proposed, unless a quorum (as described in article V) votes unanimously to approve the change.
Roberts Rules of Order are the default procedures for this organization.