Under MA law CHAPTER 71B. CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS, Section 3,
"The parent advisory council duties shall include but not be limited to:
- advising the school committee on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities;
- meeting regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development, and evaluation of the school committee’s
special education programs.
The parent advisory council shall establish by-laws regarding officers and operational procedures.
In the course of its duties under this section, the parent advisory council shall receive assistance from the school
committee without charge, upon reasonable notice, and subject to the availability of staff and resources."
Most PACs also offer parent education and support such as workshops related to special education topics, parent-to-parent
links, and referrals to other resources and organizations.
HOW IS A PAC DIFFERENT FROM A SCHOOL COUNCIL OR A PTO?
PACs, School Councils (SIMCO's - school improvement councils), and PTOs are three different organizations with different,
but equally important focus and missions.
School Councils and PTOs are specific to one school.
Special Education Parent Adivosry Councils (SEPACs or PACs) serve in an advisory capacity to the School Committee and
Special Education Administration for all schools in the district.
Examples of a School Council's responsiblities are formulating a school improvement plan and reviewing the school building
Most PTOs focus on providing additional educational and cultural opportunities for students such as providing funding
for class trips, hosting Scholastic book fairs, and providing educational and/or cultural assemblies.
SEPACs focus on students with special needs, and providing the best possible educational outcome for them. In addition
to advising the School Committee and the Special Education Administrators, SEPACs provide parent workshops such as "Basic
Rights", "An IEP for my Child", and "MCAS" workshops specific to students with special needs.