Functions of the Council
In accordance with the federal regulations in IDEA, the Governor, or his/her designee, is required to appoint a Special Education Advisory Council comprised of persons representing both providers and receivers of educational services for children with disabilities. The following are Advisory Council functions of the NJ-SSEAC according to the IDEA:
- Advise the State Education Agency (SEA) of unmet needs within the State in the education of children and youth with disabilities. (CFR 300.169(a))
- Comment publicly on any rules or regulations proposed by the State regarding the education of children and youth with disabilities. (CFR 300.169(b))
- Advise the SEA in developing evaluations and reporting on data to the Secretary of the Advisory Council under 618. (CFR 300.169(c))
- Advise the SEA in developing Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) to address findings identified in federal monitoring reports. (CFR 300.169(d))
- Advise the SEA in developing and implementing policies on the coordination of services for children and youth with disabilities. (CFR 300.169(e))
- The SEA, after deleting personally identifiable information, must:
- Provide the NJ-SSEAC with Due Process Hearing (DPH) findings and decisions. And
- Make those DPH findings and decisions available to the public. (CFR 300.513(d) and CFR 300.514(c))
- Waiver of nonsupplant requirement. The State must consult with the Advisory Council regarding provisions of Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). (CFR 300.164(c)(4)
Committees and subcommittees are involved in much of the work of the Advisory Council. These subcommittees may be standing committees, with goals or ad hoc committees, which address a particular short-term issue during the course of a particular year. Examples of Advisory Council Subcommittees might include:
- Executive Committee – the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and Secretary address the business of the Advisory Council. The Executive Committee will communicate and collaborate with the State Director regarding Advisory Council agendas and business.
- Membership Committee – keep the Advisory Council memberships current and accurate.
- By-Laws Committee – review the by-laws each year.
- Advisory Council priorities can be addressed through subcommittee work. Each Priority Subcommittee should develop an Action Plan outlining how they will approach their work. The Council Chairperson and Vice Chairperson must approve each Action Plan. If invited and approved by the Council Chairperson, stakeholders can participate in a Priority Subcommittee to present and build the capacity of Advisory Council Members on the priority topic being addressed. Stakeholders would not be permanent members of a subcommittee.
- Priority I: Mental Health and Students with Disabilities
- Priority II: Least Restrictive Environment
- Priority III: Recruitment and Retention
- Engagement Councils - Internal Engagement and External Engagement
Other Advisory Council members can volunteer for subcommittees. Each active subcommittee reports on activities at each Advisory Council meeting.
Public Comments and Contact Information
Each NJ-SSEAC meeting will include a “public comment” section on the agenda. A standing agenda item for public comment will always be included at each Advisory Council meeting. Public comments may be received in person, through a virtual platform, or in written form. Written comments submitted to the Appointed Advisory Council Secretary will be read aloud during the public comment section of the Advisory Council’s meeting agenda.
Public Comments Procedures
1. Provide notice to the public well in advance of each Advisory Council meeting.
2. Specify a consistent time on the agenda for public comments.
3. Set aside a minimum of 15 minutes on the agenda for public comments.
4. Limit public comments to no more than three minutes per individual or group.
5. Public comments can be verbal or sent in written form to be read aloud by the Council Chairperson.
6. Alert individuals giving public comments to be factual and objective. Avoid using names of students or school staff to maintain confidentiality and privacy standards. Advisory Council meetings and procedures must adhere to the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
7. Mention to those providing comments their input will be taken under advisement as the Advisory Council addresses their priority issues. Advisory Council members will listen to, but not address, public comments during the comment section.
8. Provide a verbal or visual cue to each public commenter signifying one minute before their time is up.
For further information or to send a request please email SpEdAdvisoryCouncil@doe.nj.gov.