Temporary Task Force on Preschool Special Education
Minutes from October 17, 2007

Co-chairs:   Rebecca Cort, Deputy Commissioner NYSED
Kim Fine, Deputy Director NYS Division of Budget

Attendees: William Combes, Christine Vogelsang, Mary Curtis, Susan Constantino, Eddie Lee, Michael Dedee, Robert Frawley, Mary Garrett, Michael Grossfeld, Bradley Hutton, Mark Jasinski, Eddie Lee, Sally McKay, Patsy Yang

Observers:  John Calderon (ACTS), Lisa Mill (Schenectady County Public Health), Jane Ryan (JE Ryan Associates), Ellen Burns (Early Childhood Direction Center), Nancy Hampton (Early Childhood Direction Center), Agnes Leahy (Whitemore Osterman-Harna , LLP), Joe Conroy (DOB), Jyothsna Buddharaju (DOB), Lisa Timoney (DOB), Melinda Person (NYSUT), Christine Decatur (NYSSBA), Dan Kinley (NYSUT), Hal Mattot (NYSED- STAC and Medicaid), Marcia Atwood (Questar III SETRC), Heather Evans (Carr Public Affairs), Pam Madeiros (NYS Alliance for Children with Special Needs), Andrea Rieger (LI Coalition for Preschool Children w/ Disabilities and Variety Child Learning Center), Jessica Janeski (OMRDD), Judi Gerson (CP of NYS), Dan Tworek (CP of NYS), Donna Noyes (DOH), Sandra Rybaltowski (VESID), Michael Plotzker (VESID).

Facilitator: Rebecca Kennard
Recorders: Sara Silver and Tina Goodwin-Segal

Meeting Start up

Becky Cort, Kim Fine, and Becky Kennard welcomed everyone to the meeting.  Attention was called to the fact that draft copies of the report needed to be returned at the end of the meeting since it was not a final document yet.  Members were thanked for their efforts in advancing the recommendations to this point.  The minutes of the September 18th Task Force meeting were unanimously approved.

Development of the Draft Report (Tina Goodwin-Segal, MAGI)

Over a series of editing sessions with the work group chairs and the facilitator, MAGI took efforts to write to a broader audience, and at the same time to preserve the language developed by the Task Force members.  The report incorporated an executive summary, a section on membership, an introduction, and a description of the processes employed by the Task Force to arrive at the recommendations.  The recommendations were distinguished as primary and secondary, applying the original criteria set by the members.  A concluding chapter summarized the intent and proposed impact of the proposals with a recognition of additional work that remains to be done. The list of appendices described additional resources used by the Task Force and these will appear in their entirety in the final report.  Members were encouraged to review the report for accuracy of information and to alert the writers of necessary changes. 

Review of the Draft Report

Becky Kennard established the ground rules for review of the report.  Members were asked to refrain from comments about grammar/syntax of the language and instead to focus on the report’s substance and message.  Three standards were employed:

  1. Is the report complete?
  2. Is the report accurate?
  3. Is the report a clear documentation of the work of the Task Force?

The following is a summary of the highlights of the feedback provided by members on each section of the draft report.



Primary Recommendations
Recommendation 1

Recommendation 2

Recommendation 3

Recommendation 4

Secondary Recommendations
Recommendation 5

Recommendation 6

Recommendation 7

Recommendation 8

Recommendation 9


Executive Summary


List of Appendices

Meeting Wrap-Up and Next Steps

Becky Kennard summed up the review by asking the members if the report fulfilled their charge as a Task Force.  Members felt that if the revisions suggested were made, they would have accomplished their charge. 

The co-chairs agreed to incorporate all changes and send the final draft by email to the members for final comment.  The November 6th meeting will be needed to affirm the final document.  However, members may elect to video-conference or conference call into the meeting.  Upon acceptance of the final product, the chairs will send it with a cover letter to the Governor and the various stakeholders (members of the Senate, Assembly, etc.).  At that point, it will be a public document. It will also be presented to the Board of Regents.

In summary, the co-chairs felt that much had been accomplished by the Task Force.  It had met its charge and tried to balance what is important for children with what is practical.  The fiscal component must be recognized even though it was not the primary objective.  Members were urged to think about how their recommendations could be supported in each of their professional roles, so that they could collectively move this important agenda forward.