Temporary Task Force on Preschool Special Education
Minutes from June 28, 2007

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

Attendees: Bradley Hutton (DOH), Robert Frawley (Council on Children and Families),William Combes (Commission on Quality Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities), Eddie Lee (OMRDD), Mark Jasinski (school district representative), Sally McKay (school district representative), Christine Vogelsang (school district representative), Michael Dedee (county representative), Patsy Yang-Lewis (county representative), Susan Constantino (representative of approved preschool special education providers), Mary Garrett (representative of approved preschool special education providers), Michael Grossfeld (representative of approved preschool special education providers)
Absent: Mary Curtis (Linda Rennie attended to observe)

Facilitators: Rebecca Kennard, Bonnie Edelstein (Work Group 1), Alan Stern (Work Group 2), and Donna Meixner (Work Group 3)
Recorder: Tina Goodwin-Segal

Welcome and Overview
Opening remarks were offered by the co-chairs to welcome the group to the task force, to present the agenda for the meeting, and to encourage open dialogue among all members at the table. The task force members were invited to think outside of the boundaries of the current system and encouraged to generate ideas that are not limited by existing models, rules and regulations as they generate their ideas. Directions from the co-chairs emphasized the intense level of work that needs to be done, the short turn-around times that will be required, and the comprehensive nature of the charge to the task force.

Each task force member was asked to provide a brief introduction and to share one desired result of the task force. A simple version of the desired result stated by each member follows:

Mike Grossfeld: All Preschool providers are treated equally by policies and regulations
Mike Dedee:   That the recommendations are realistic and can be implemented
Susan Constantino: Rate structure that’s responsive to complex and changing needs of children
Christine Vogelsang:   Common set of standards for all kids; fully inclusive public and private system; and funding to support
Mark Jasinski:   More efficient and effective service delivery system to support families
Mary Garrett:   Focus on children first; then figure how pieces fit
Bill Combes:    Relieve the stress of CPSE meetings by smoothing out the difficulties between needs and payment
Patsy Yang-Lewis:  Increased fiscal accountability aligned with educational expertise
Bob Frawley:  Raise the number of students served & included
Eddie Lee:    Workable solutions for children that bring together diverse interests
Brad Hutton:  Determining what’s best for kids and ensuring a smooth transition from Early Intervention
Kim Fine:  An effective product, reflecting diverse perspectives
Becky Cort: Focus on UPK: provide incentives for including special education
Sally McKay: An efficient rate setting process

Task Force Charge, Operations, and Meeting Schedule
Becky Cort reviewed the charge, the structure of the task force, the role of the full task force, and the role of the workgroups. These points were also clearly identified in a handout that had been provided to the group in advance of the meeting. The proposed work schedule was presented and the group was directed to the tight timeline on the last page of the handout. Becky pointed out that, based on this schedule, by August 23rd the task force needs to endorse the direction of the work groups and by September 18th the recommendations with rationales need to be initially drafted. At that September meeting the group will decide which recommendations will make it into the draft report to be prepared for the October 17th meeting.

The full task force meeting schedule was approved, meetings will run from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and all meetings except the last one will be held in Albany at the State Education Department Building in the Catalog Room on the 2nd Floor. The last meeting will be in the Education Building in the Seminar Room 5A/B on the 5th Floor. Meeting dates are as follows:

Tuesday           July 17th
Thursday         August 23rd
Tuesday           September 18th
Wednesday      October 17th
Tuesday           November 6th

Three work groups were identified: Work Group 1—Transition and Least Restrictive Environment, Work Group 2—Rate-setting, and Work Group 3—Delivery Systems. Work group meetings will occur between each of the monthly task force meetings. Work group membership was assigned and each work group will have a leader who will make the arrangements for the group. The frequency and length of work group meetings is determined by the group, but generally they will meet for 3 hours. Listserv communication will be set up for the whole group and for each of the work groups. Task force members were reminded that each of them represents a set of constituents and that they need to seek input from that group to assure that the broad spectrum and diverse opinions of their group are included in the deliberation process.

Task force members were also asked to begin thinking about the types of research, expertise, and factual information that the task force/work groups should obtain. NYSED has recently collected data from a number of state education departments about preschool special education in their state.  Data from responding states has been analyzed and the State Survey Results report is being prepared and should be available for distribution before the next full task force meeting. Additionally, NYSED has databases that are available to provide data in a variety of areas on a number of specific data points, e.g., frequencies, counts, utilization, etc. The task force/work groups need to identify what information is needed and then make specific data requests.

Additionally, the co-chairs presented the idea of hosting regional meetings to get additional input. It was noted by several of the task force members that there are a number of groups that already have regional meetings scheduled. The co-chairs will work with these task force members to identify possible forums where the agenda of the task force can be opened to a broader group for their input. Kim Fine is coordinating the regional outreach sessions and requested that ideas for venues and mailing lists be submitted to her.

The final topic presented during this session was a proposed broad outline for the final report.
Report sections may include the following:           

Later in the discussion it was noted that the final report may need to have an appendix or an addendum that accompanies the report to explain/define terminology and/or frequently used acronyms.

Guidance to the Workgroups
The full task force was asked to generate a list of issues that they would like each work group to address and to identify resources that might be needed (e.g., research, expert informants, constituency outreach, etc.) by each work group.

Issues for Work Group 1—Transition and Least Restrictive Environment

Resources for Work Group 1

NOTE: For the data questions, add trend data

Issues for Work Group 2—Rate-setting

Resources for Work Group 2

NOTE: For the data questions, add trend data

Issues for Work Group 3—Delivery Systems

Resources for Work Group 3


NOTE: For the data questions, add trend data

Work Group Breakout Sessions
Work groups met individually to set meeting dates/times and agenda for next group meeting. See separate minutes from each work group breakout session.

Meeting Wrap Up
Each work group leader took a few minutes to debrief with the whole group and announce their next work group meeting.

Group 1 will meet July 10th  from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the State Capitol Building Room 143
Group 2 will meet July 9th from 10:00 -1:00 p.m. at 44 Holland (OMRDD’s offices)
Group 3 will meet July 10th from 9:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. Location TBD

Action items were identified by the facilitator as the following:

The meeting was concluded with a few comments from task force members that the meeting had been well organized and a lot had been accomplished. However, it was also noted that this was possibly the calm before the storm.