Frequently Asked Questions About CAC
1. What is the CAC?
California Education Code (Part 30, Chapter 2, Article 7, 56190) requires each Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) to establish a Community Advisory Committee for Special Education (CAC). CAC membership is comprised of parents with students (birth through age 22) who receive Special Education services, parents with students in general education, district staff from both special and general education, community agency representatives and any community member who is interested in Special Education.
2. What is the mission of CAC?
The mission of the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education (CAC) is to improve outcomes for ALL students by supporting needs-based learning, equal opportunities and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment.
3. What are the primary responsibilities of CAC?
The primary responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Advise the SELPA regarding the development, amendment, and review of the Local Plan;
- Make recommendations on annual priorities to be addressed under the Plan;
- Encourage parent and community involvement in the development, amendment, and review of the Local Plan;
- Assist in parent education; and
- Support activities on behalf of individuals with exceptional needs.
4. What is generally required of a CAC member?
The CAC operates under an approved set of by-laws, but generally, members are asked to attend a monthly meeting of about 2 hours and to participate on at least one committee in which time requirements vary. Members are also asked to encourage community and parental involvement in the development, review, and implementation of the Local Plan.
- In addition to advising the SELPA on the development and review of the local plan, CAC supports a variety of goals and activities on behalf of individuals with exceptional needs and their parents. Some of those efforts include:
- Increasing access of information to all parents who have children with special needs (i.e., create a resource directory for parents; develop a website on resources of what is available.
- Developing outreach so that “all” parents know what is available in SELPA (i.e., provide a welcome letter to all new parents).
- Advocating for special education funding at the national, state, and local level.
- Educating general education teachers, staff, and students on issues related to special education.
5. How can I become involved CAC?
All meetings are open to the public and everyone is warmly welcome to attend and participate during the public comment section. A collaborative atmosphere is encouraged through team building and sharing of information with district staff.
6. What if I want to become a CAC member?
To become a member of CAC, you must be nominated by your special education director and appointed by your school district board. Membership is a volunteer position and you would serve a two-year term.
7. What can the CAC do for me?
- Keep you informed about current and/or future programs and legislation affecting special education;
- Provide you with access to programs & services, resources, and agencies for disability-related topics;
- Provide you with parent training and information;
- Provide you with networking opportunities with other concerned parents;
- Provide you with access to SELPA staff; and
- Give you the opportunity to raise questions, express concerns and share common issues.