Frequently Asked Questions
What is a SELPA?
All SELPAs have the same basic goal. . . to deliver high quality special education programs and services to the students with disabilities in the most effective, efficient, and cost effective manner practicable. In the early 1970's a movement across the country resulted in the passage of important federal and state laws. The federal laws were PL 93-112 and PL 94-142. In 1987, PL 99 457 was passed which expanded services to infants. In response to the laws, legislation was passed in California which provides the legal foundation for a comprehensive plan in special education and requires local districts and agencies to establish Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPAs) to address the needs of all children with disabilities. More about SELPA...
What are the responsibilities of the SELPA?
SELPA responsibilities include such things as:
- Ensuring programs/services are available for all children with disabilities
- Curriculum/Program Development
- Support Surrogate Parent Training
- Community Advisory Committee Support
- Management Information Systems
- Transition Planning
- Personnel Development
- Budget Planning and Review Evaluation
- Interagency Coordination
- Program Specialists
- Community Awareness
- Program Coordination
Who are the members of the Kern County Consortium SELPA?
Currently, 48 school districts and the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office as members of this SELPA. The Bakersfield City School District , Kern High School District and Sierra Sands Unified School District are three other SELPAs located in Kern County that are single district SELPAs.
What if I know a child who may need help? Where do I start?
All SELPAs and school districts are required to have procedures in place to help locate students who may need special education services. Any individual that believes they know a child that might require special education intervention may call the Search and Serve office or their local school district office and talk with someone about their concerns. There are many programs and services that are available to children that may have a disability and require specialized services to reach the desired outcomes. More about beginning the special education process...
What is special education?
the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Public Law 105-17 defines special education as instruction that is specially designed to meet the unique needs of children who have disabilities. This is done at no cost to the parents. Special education can include special instruction in the classroom, at home, in hospitals or institutions, or in other settings. Over 5 million children ages 6 through 21 receive special education and related services each year in the United States. Each of these children receives instruction that is specially designed:
- to meet the child's unique needs (that result from having a disability); and
- to help the child learn the information and skills that other children are learning.
School districts are required to provide a free appropriate education to students with disabilities based on their individualized educational needs. The services may include special education and related aids and services such as physical therapy, as well as modifications to the regular education program including adjustments in test taking procedures and adjustments to rules regarding absences when a student's absences are due to a disability.
Once my child is in special education, will he/she always be in special education?
The IEP Team reviews each student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) each year to monitor progress and determine next year's needs. Every three years, a complete evaluation determines a student's eligibility and the need for continued services.
Can a parent contact SELPA directly if he/she has questions regarding special education services or placement?
Yes. The SELPA staff are always available as a resource to parents. Please contact us by phone at 661.636.4802 or by email at anytime.
What is a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and who can be part of it?
The CAC acts in an advisory capacity to the SELPA and involves the parents and community in actively participating in the development, amendment, and review of the SELPA's Local Plan for Special Education. A representative from each school district attends the meetings to discuss special education issues, share local concerns and activities and take information from the Community Advisory Committee to the district. More about CAC...
What are IFSPs and IEPs?
The Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is both a process and a document intended to assist families and professionals in a community in their combined efforts to meet the developmental needs of a young child from birth to age three with special needs. The guiding principal of the IFSP is that the family is a child's greatest resource, that a baby's needs are closely tied to the needs of their family. The IFSP may also identify services the family may be interested in, such as financial information or information about raising a child with a disability. More about IFSP...
An IEP or an Individual Education Plan is developed for each child eligible for special education, based on the child's unique needs, with parent participation, containing a statement of the child's present level of performance, educational needs, goals and measurable objectives. Is reviewed at least annually. More about IEP...
What are parents' rights regarding special education?
A parent who has a child that receives special education programs and services has additional rights and responsibilities outlined within the SELPA web site and the California Department of Education, Special Education, web site. Further, a parents' rights are contained in a Notice of Rights to Parent/Guardian/Surrogate Handbook available for download. May a child with a disability be suspended?
Students with disabilities may be suspended. Repeated suspensions of a student with disabilities may suggest that a child is not receiving appropriate educational services. If the student is removed for more than ten consecutive school days or is subjected to a series of removals that constitute a pattern, this is considered a change of placement. In determining whether additional removals of up to ten days constitute a pattern, the district must consider at least the length of each removal, the total amount of time the student is removed, and the proximity of the removals to each other.