What is a SELPA?
The Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPAs) in California serve as a liaison between the Department of Education and the local school districts (or local educational agencies - LEAs).
In 1977, all school districts and county school offices were mandated to form consortiums in geographical regions of sufficient size and scope to provide for all special education service needs of children residing within the region boundaries. There are currently 122 SELPAs in California. Each region, a SELPA, developed a "local plan" describing how it would provide special education services. The governance structure of the SELPA is outlined within the local plan.
SELPAs are dedicated to the belief that all students can learn and that special needs students must be guaranteed equal opportunity to become contributing members of society. SELPAs facilitate high quality educational programs and services for special needs students and training for parents and educators. The SELPA collaborates with county agencies and school districts to develop and maintain healthy and enriching environments in which special needs students and families can live and succeed.
SELPA Administrators are responsible for ensuring: FAPE; LRE; that all regular education resources are considered, and where appropriate, are utilized on a local or regional basis to meet the needs of students with disabilities; that a system exists at the regional level for identification, assessment and placement of students with disabilities; that a viable system for public education is functioning in the community, with broad participation and interaction involving parents and other agencies serving children and young adults; an annual compliance monitoring system is implemented that continued to ensure compliance.
Recently, SELPAs have become eligible to receive Federal Grants to conduct Alternative Dispute Resolution functions to assist parents and LEAs with the IEP process.
What is a 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 serves in an advisory capacity to the Board of Education and Special Education administration on the implementation of the Local Plan.
The Local Plan is a legal document that describes how the SELPA provides services to students with exceptional needs.
The CAC is the public accountability valve for the SELPAs, which are the liaison between the State and the LEAs.
CAC membership is comprised of parents with students 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. The member of the CAC are appointed by the LEA's School Board Trustees to serve in this advisory role. CACs typical meet about 10 months per year. Any parent of a student in the district, staff or community member may attend and participate in CAC meetings.