Transition/Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Workgroup
Meeting Minutes
September 10, 2007, 10am-4pm
NYSUT Headquarters

Members:  Bill Combs; Michael Dedee; Bob Frawley; Mary Garrett; Chris Volgelsang; Kim Fine; Brad Hutton; Sandy Rybaltowski
Visitors:  Judy Gerson, UCP of NYS; Pam Madeiros, NYS Alliance for Children with Special Needs; Jessica Morelli, NYSAC; Larry Waite, NYSUT; Tina Goodwin-Segal, MAGI
Support:  Juliet Carhart
Facilitator:     Roxanne Wright

Roxanne discussed with the group the format for formalizing the recommendations. 

Chris V. brought up the issue that the workgroup’s recommendations did not address the fiscal implications of implementation.  Rate Setting will be looking into those issues, and they will also be addressed at the next full task force meeting.

Recommendation Assessment
The bulk of the meeting was devoted to reviewing recommendations, identifying action steps and putting them in the consistent Task force format, including discussing pros, cons, implementation issues and identifying degree of consensus.

Workgroup recommendations
The recommendation regarding mental health issues will be directed to the Children’s Cabinet.

Recommendation #7 regarding 3 year-olds in UPK will be revised by Chris V.

Recommendations referred to workgroup # 1 during last Full Task Force Meeting

Students turning three (from September through December) before Jan. 1 in a school year should have a choice of entering preschool in the previous or subsequent September.  No student should be forced to exit EI in January.

Group discussion concluded that recommendations to encourage more smooth transitions negates the need for a change in transition requirements based on birth date.  Recommendations of the rate setting group may address the capacity of programs to serve children transitioning at times other than the start of a school year.

Students requiring related services only should have a choice of receiving these services through the EI system until they transition to school age programs at age 5.  Students choosing to transition to CPSE for related services only would have those services provided or contracted for by the school district.

Group discussion concluded that this recommendation should not be advanced.

Provide incentives for districts to develop more integrated programs by allowing the use of UPK funds for 3 year olds and full day programs if the programs are special classes in an integrated setting.  (SCIS)

A recommendation was discussed and the workgroup will react to language to be provided by Chris V.

Develop mechanisms to support the braiding of resources across programs and systems (e.g., UPK, Headstart, Day Care, special education) to meet broader needs of parents and families 

The group determined that its recommendations already advanced the objective of this recommendation.

Michael D. brought up a possible new recommendation for the group to consider, regarding shifting administrative responsibility of special ed. programs from municipalities to the school districts, by 2013.  Chris V. raised concern that the fiscal implications of such a switch would be complicated, due to the fact that you would be switching responsibility from 57 counties to 700+ school districts, which would likely prove to be more expensive in terms of administrative costs.  Jessica M. said that the Service Delivery group is examining the misalignment of payors vs. those making decisions regarding service delivery, and that their deliberations would directly impact this shift.  Kim F. made the point that shifting funding of special ed. services to the districts would be challenging, because school district budgets are voted on by taxpayers who are less likely to be willing to fund special ed. services that they don’t use than other services – risk of pitting special ed against team sports, for example.  Michael D. will draft a recommendation regarding this issue and submit it to the workgroup for comments.

Next Meeting
The workgroup will hold a conference call Wednesday, September 12 at 10am.  Anne Campbell will set it up and email details of signing on to the group.