Statement to the San Mateo-Foster City School Board, 5/7/18

Good evening, Board, Dr. Rosas, Cabinet –

I wanted to this opportunity to share some information with you from the world of Special Education.

First, I want to thank you very much for quickly appointing the new RPC-CAC (Resource Parent Council – Community Advisory Committee) Members at your last Board Meeting. Although, I am not officially an appointee, I attended the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) final meeting of the year with these new members on April 23rd – the Members of the RPC-CAC serve in a resource role for parents and they also serve in an advisory role to you, the Board Trustees who appointed them.

Our RPC-CAC Members are currently exploring ways in which they can help to better transmit information to parents – and to you!

I also had the great opportunity to attend the SELPA’s Legislative Sharing Day in Sacramento on May 2nd with Anjanette Pelletier (SELPA Director) and two local Special Education Directors where we spoke with Assembly Members Marc Berman and Kevin Mullin & State Senators Weiner and Hill about proposed Bills to increase and equalize funding for Special Education (AB 3136 – O’Donnell) and for increased funding for Family Empowerment Centers – such as Parents Helping Parents (AB 2704 – O’Donnell)… these bills have wide bipartisan support, as well as support from CTA and were well received by our legislators.

While in Sacramento, I was able to connect with a wide array of CAC members throughout the State through the “CA CAC Leadership Collaborative” – which is working to give even more parent voice to the CACs, input on the SELPA’s budget, and a more advisory role to School Boards throughout the state.

I also want to share that as of April 23rd, SNKids.org has been organized as a California Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation, which will soon have a 501(c)(4) tax exempt status. We are very excited about this!

As a 501(c)(4), we are not a philanthropic non-profit, but rather, we are a legislative, policy and systems-focused advocacy organization.

We will be raising awareness of key issues that impact the success of our kids, we will be seeking practical solutions, and ultimately we hope to improve current systems and policies through interactions with our legislative bodies… like yourselves, as well as through our state and federal legislators.

We will be evaluating elected officials, “score-carding” them, on the positions they take in regard to issues (both directly and indirectly) related to special needs. We hope to eventually be endorsing candidates who hold our values and ideals within their platforms. We intend to do this both locally and statewide. We have started by initiating a “Virtual Forum” for our current San Mateo County Superintendent Candidates, which we encourage you to view on our website.

Our goal is simple – transparency, accountability & better processes for achieving great outcomes for all We sincerely believe that doing better is possible and that we can be more collaborative, compassionate and effective in delivering the best possible educational experience for each and every child.

Senta Greene spoke very eloquently this weekend at the 10th Annual Early Intervention and Inclusion Conference about how we must embrace ALL children as OUR children and LEAD with and inclusive mindset and “heartset.”

Thank you for your attention and leadership on this important issue for ALL of our kiddos, as they are ALL general education students first and their success is your success.

-Chelsea Bonini

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