WHAT EDUCATION STAKEHOLDERS SHOULD KNOW
Special Education Advisory Committees (SEACs) are a state regulatory requirement of each school district. SEACs bring together education stakeholders to help advise the school district about the needs of students with disabilities. SEACs function as an important tool to bring about positive change. A lack of involvement from parents and community members hinders SEACs from reaching their full potential. Endependence Center staff attends SEAC meetings and offer a few observations described below.
STUDENTS, PARENTS, AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS NEED TO UTILIZE THE PUBLIC COMMENT PROCESS
Public comment allows the community an opportunity to voice concerns. Public comment can be made during the meeting or anonymously as a written comment. Despite this powerful tool, most SEAC meetings have no public comments to address.
THE SEAC SHOULD REVIEW THE ANNUAL PLAN
One of the core functions of SEACs is to review an annual plan for the use of federal special education funds. The annual plan is drafted by the school district and approved by the local school board after the SEAC has reviewed the draft. The plan typically contains the same information as the previous year. SEACs provide minimum input and unanimously approve the plan. Yet there is power in using the annual plan to fund services to address the issues from the data collected by SEAC. The review process should be more collaborative and less of a formality.
MEMBERS SHOULD UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF SEACs
Virginia regulations require that the local SEAC review policies and procedures for the provision of special education prior to the submission to the local school board. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. For example, when policy on restraint and seclusion went before the school boards earlier this year, there was a scramble to update policy and procedures and some SEACs were consulted after the fact. It is important that SEAC members stay up-to-date on education policy.
For more information about SEACs, please go to: