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Last Updated: 10/31/2017
 

Parent Advisory Committee Question & Answer Section

What is a PAC?

What are the main functions and responsibilities of a PAC?

What are Michigan's rules for PACs?

Where do PACs get their funding to operate?

Can a foster parent serve on a parent advisory committee?

What can my local PAC do for me and my child?

What is a PAC? 

The Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) is a committee of parents who have children in special education programs or receive services within their local Intermediate School District (ISD).  Each local school district designates one or two parents to represent them in this committee.  All attempts are made to assure that all types of impairments are represented.  These committees exist according to Michigan Special Education Rule 340.1838.

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What are the main functions and responsibilities of a PAC?

The Parent Advisory Committee provides input in the development of the ISD Plan for Special Education Services. The ISD Plan describes how special education services will be delivered and how the rights of parents and students will be ensured. The ISD Plan is a very important document. It must be approved by the Michigan State Board of Education before the ISD can receive funds for special education. The Parent Advisory Committee may file formal objections to the Plan if members feel that the Plan violates provisions of special education law - this example is from Monroe ISD's PAC Website.

The minimal responsibilities of the PAC are identified in the Administrative Rules for Special Education. They include:

The ISD Plan, or any plan modification, must be developed in cooperation with local school districts and the PAC.

All plans must be reviewed with representatives of each local school district and the PAC, in whole or in part, at least quarterly.

The chairperson of the PAC must sign the ISD Plan, or any plan modification, signifying the committee was involved in the development of the plan.

If the PAC determines the plan, or any part of it is not acceptable, the PAC may file an objection to the plan in whole or in part.

If an objection is filed against the ISD Plan by another party, the PAC may file a response to the objection. - this example is from Oakland ISD's PAC Website.

PAC members serve as support persons to parents helping them through the special education process. They are a valuable resource to parents, providing them with information regarding:

Special Education Law

Parental Rights

Programs/Services available from Schools

Programs/Services available from Agencies

PAC members may serve as liaisons between the ISD, parents and their local school districts. This helps all parties involved to collaborate in the best interest of children with disabilities.

The PAC actively promotes the welfare of individuals with disabilities through parent and public outreach and education.

A major function of the PAC is to review the ISD Plan. This Plan is a written document describing how special education services in our county will be implemented to meet the needs of our children. Changes that occur in the Plan may very well affect your child; they certainly affect someone’s child. It is important for parents to have an active part in developing and reviewing the Plan - this example is from Van Buren ISD's PAC Website.

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What are Michigan's rules for PACs?

R 340.1838 Parent advisory committee

Rule 138.(1) A parent advisory committee shall be appointed by each intermediate school district board.

(a) The committee and its officers shall consist only of parents of handicapped persons with at least 1 parent from each constituent local school district.

(b) Each constituent local board of education shall nominate at least 1 parent.

(c) The intermediate school district board of education may nominate additional members not to exceed 33 1/3% of the total parent advisory committee membership.

(2) The intermediate board of education shall make every attempt to assure that all types of impairments and all identifiable organizations of parents of handicapped persons within the intermediate school district are represented on the committee.

(3) The intermediate board of education may recommend operational procedures for committee review and adoption.

(4) The intermediate school district shall secure or allocate fiscal and staff resources to the committee to make it efficient and effective in operation.

(5) The parent advisory committee shall have responsibility for determining the organizational structure of the committee, including all of the following:

Officers and their responsibilities

Meeting times

Notice of meeting times

Voting procedures

Terms of office

Related matters.

(6) The parent advisory committee shall participate in the development of the district's plan for the delivery of special education programs and services as required by R 340.1833.

(7) The parent advisory committee may provide advisory input on any matters which the committee deems appropriate to the improvement of special education services within the intermediate school district.

Each PAC creates their own bylaws.  For examples, visit the following sites:

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Where do PACs get their funding to operate?

Their local Intermediate School District.  According to R 340.1838 (4), "the intermediate school district shall secure or allocate fiscal and staff resources to the committee to make it efficient and effective in operation."

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Can a foster parent serve on a parent advisory committee?

The answer is NO.  The rule being interpreted is R 340.1838 (1) (a).  "Parent" means the mother, father, or legally designated guardian of the handicapped person.  A foster family is licensed by the Department of Social Services and the foster parents are responsible to care for those persons placed in the foster family home.  The foster parent is not included within the definition of "parent" in special education rules, because that person has not been designated as the legal guardian by the court.

The intent of the rule is to have an advisory committee composed of parents of handicapped students with "parent" meaning the student's natural mother or father or the the student's legal guardian.  A foster parent or other responsible adult caring for the student is not the student's "parent" and consequently, may not serve on the ISD parent advisory committee.

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What can my local PAC do for me and my child?

The PAC works to achieve the following goals:

  • Represent the needs of individuals with disabilities.
  • Be open to hear the concerns of parents.
  • Promote the welfare of persons with handicaps through public education.
  • Provides input in the development of the  ISD Plan for Special Education Services.

Above info taken from the Mecosta-Osceola ISD's PAC website.

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