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The Kern County Consortium SELPA is a Multi-District/County Office SELPA. Currently, 44 school districts, 5 charter schools and the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office are members of this SELPA which provides special education programs and services to over 10,000 students from birth through age 22 years.
What is a SELPA?
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 the late 1980’s, 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. Today there are approximately 130 SELPAs in the state ranging in size from those serving fewer than 5,000 students to those serving more than 10,000 students. (A few have up to 50,000 and only five SELPAs have over 10,000). Most commonly, SELPAs serve between 2,000 and 4,000 students. SELPAs vary in their structure. There are single district SELPAs and SELPAs with multiple districts, in addition to several other forms that may be developed. Each SELPA must have an Administrative Unit. The Administrative Unit is the legal entity that receives funds and is responsible for seeing that every eligible child receives appropriate services. Cost for the Administrative Unit are provided by special funding from the state.
What are the responsibilities of the SELPA?
The SELPA policy-making body is designated in the Local Plan and makes policy decisions, approves the guidelines for other decisions. In addition, there are usually advisory groups that work with the Director and the governing body. The chief administrator of the SELPA is usually called a Director.
It is the SELPA’s responsibility to assure programs are available for all students with disabilities, from birth until age 22. The SELPA must see that programs provide any needed services for any student with an exceptional need, and to assist in inter-SELPA placements, provide technical assistance, and administrative support for the many requirements of the new laws and requirements being placed on districts.
The SELPA responsibility is met through a network of cooperative agreements among districts and agencies. The SELPA Office coordinates this network and provides a focal point for the student/family seeking information and services.
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 We Are
The Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office is the Administrative Unit for the Kern County Consortium SELPA. The policy-making body is the Superintendents’ Executive Council (SEC). There are two advisory groups for the SELPA: The Special Education Administrators Committee (SEAC), and the Community Advisory Committee (CAC). The Kern County Consortium SELPA is a multi-district/county office SELPA that serves over 12,000 children identified as having special needs. There are 49 members of the Kern County Consortium SELPA. There are also three other SELPAs located in Kern County that are single-district SELPAs:
Kern County Consortium SELPA personnel include: a) a SELPA Coordinator, b) Program Specialists, and c) Mental Health Staff.
The SELPA Coordinator is responsible for the Program Specialists, the Community Advisory Committee (CAC), and for the data gleaned from each of the 49 LEAs, and collected for CDE twice per year by each SELPA (CASEMIS). He/she is ultimately the person responsible for the online IEP Program that supports this data-collection as well; the program in Kern County is known as SIRAS and is operated by an outside vendor working closely with SELPA staff. The SELPA Coordinator participates in the Alternative Dispute Resolution process for the entire SELPA and is a trainer and support for districts when Program Specialists are not available.
The SELPA Program Specialists are designated to assist in curriculum development, resource identification, teacher/staff/parent support and professional development. The Program Specialists are selected as experts in their field and for their ability to share this information with others. They are not administrators. They act as a resource to the school personnel in developing an appropriate program for students. They provide training and inservice to the personnel and agencies that will lead to improved curricular and program services for the students with disabilities throughout the SELPA. Districts can request specific assistance using the Request for Program Specialist Support form.
The SELPA Mental Health staff is comprised of a Behavior Health Coordinator, Mental Health Supervisors, Mental Health Clinicians and support staff. This cadre of people are all trained Mental Health professionals and are all either fully-licensed or are interns working toward their final licensure; the latter group is closely supervised while they complete their training and testing needed to receive their licensure. They proved the Educationally-Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS)