SNAC Bylaws (Updates approved September 8, 2015)




The Special Needs Advisory Council (SNAC) is organized to ensure that parents, school staff, and community professionals come together to promote a shared decision-making process to plan and implement educational programs for students with special needs.  Special needs students are those who have or have had IEPs or 504 plans, those who are medically fragile, and those who are at-risk for placement into Exceptional Children programs.

The purpose of the Special Needs Advisory Council shall be to work collaboratively on the improvement of the quality of education for children with special needs in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS). The purpose includes a number of activities:

·   Identify, discuss, and choose 3-5 action areas related to children with special needs for study, and report to the Superintendent on an annual basis

·   Make recommendations to the Superintendent concerning special needs issues, policies and programs

·   Advocate for effective, coordinated, and comprehensive programs

·   Provide information to and solicit concerns from parents and the school community concerning issues and programs for students with special needs

·   Serve as a liaison to schools' PTAs and SITs concerning issues and programs for students with special needs

·   Promote communication among schools and community agencies (e.g. mental health, vocational rehabilitation, etc.) on behalf of students with special needs

  • Promote inclusion of EC Students in greater school and district community


The membership of the Special Needs Advisory Council is divided into groups:  school-based and district-wide.

School-Based Representatives

School-based Representatives shall consist of two parent/guardians of a special needs child from each school including PreK/Headstart, Elementary through High School, and Phoenix Academy.  This creates one school rep and one co-rep position at each school. School representatives will serve for a minimum of one year term.  There will be one rep and one co-rep from each school.  If more than 2 people are interested in serving as SNAC Rep for a given school, the Membership committee or SNAC Chair and Vice Chair will determine who will serve.  They should seek to diversify representation.

These school representatives will support school based needs of parents, staff and students and represent their interests at the Council. One rep per school, committee and team chairs, SNAC officers, liaisons and professional members will be voting members of the Council. The rep and co-rep from an individual school may decide jointly how to allocate their vote.


Liaisons and Workgroup Chairs: Officers may propose the creation of new liaison and workgroup chair positions. The term of service and role description shall accompany the proposal. Approval of these positions requires a vote of the council. Liaisons and workgroup chairs may be self nominated, nominated by a member or by an officer.  Officers have final discretion over selecting an individual from the pool of nominees.

Liaisons/Workgroup chairs shall be parents/guardians of a special needs child.  They are voting members of SNAC and may  represent a school.  In the event the liaison/workgroup chair also represents a school, the liaison/workgroup chair shall allow the other school rep to cast the vote on behalf of the school and the liaison/workgroup chair shall have a vote as the liaison/workgroup chair.

Staff Representatives, Committee/team chairs and Officers (chair/vice chair) of SNAC are voting members of the Council and should NOT while in these posts (if a parent) represent a school.  They are to maintain the district wide focus of SNAC.

Agencies and Outside Providers

Outside community agencies (e.g. The Arc, UNC, Family Advocacy Network, and First In Families) or private providers (e.g. psychologists, therapists) may serve as resources and consultants.

Officers and Staff members will work together to identify potential agencies who are currently involved in the community.


1. Both the Chair and Vice Chair(s) of the Council will be parents who are self-nominated or are nominated by a group member and elected by the full Council. If there is more than one Vice Chair, each person shall receive one vote in the Council.  Council members may propose to elect a second vice-chair in a given year, in order to make the work demands more reasonable. In this case, one vote shall be held and the top two vote-getters will be elected. Term of appointment will be for one year.   The Chair and Vice Chair will be elected at the middle (Jan-Feb) of the calendar year in which the current officer's term will expire.  Elections may be held at a meeting or electronically. They will become "officers elect" and work with the incumbents until June of that year.  They will assume their positions in June of the elected year.  All other positions will be filled by the Chair and Vice Chair or the designated Membership Committee.

2. The Secretary/Administrator will be a Council member who is self nominated or nominated by the group and elected by the full council. It may be a parent, community or school related member of the Council. The Secretary/Administrator shall record minutes or have his or her designee record minutes at the meeting, distribute minutes to the Council and send the minutes to the Communications Chair. The Secretary/Administrator shall assist the Chair(s) and Vice Chair(s) on other administrative tasks as needed.

3. Communications Chair/Liaison will be a Council member who is self nominated or nominated by the group and elected by the full council. The communications chair will serve as point person for web postings, Connect Ed messages, and group emails to distribute announcements and related attachments to the Council prior to meetings.

Staff Members

Staff representatives shall be selected by the Executive Director of ECSS in consultation with officers based on availability and interest.

Member of the Board of Education

Coordinator of Student Services

Executive Director of Exceptional Children and Student Services (ECSS)

Assistant Director of Exceptional Children & Student Services

Two principals (selected by Superintendent)

504 Facilitator/RTI

Lead Speech-Language Pathologist

Health Services

Coordinator, Preschool Disabilities

Resource or EC Teacher

Social Worker

Twice Exceptional

Parent University

Exceptional Children Behavior Support/PBIS Coordinator

Other members may be added when deemed necessary by vote of the  Council and/or appointment by the Superintendent.


1. The SNAC Chair and/or Vice Chair will solicit 2 SNAC Members to serve as a membership committee, or alternately solicit  people directly to fill SNAC Rep and SNAC Leadership positions.  They will select one representative and one co-representative from each school.  The Membership Committee will ensure diversity of parent/guardian representation on the Council.  

2. Staff representatives will be selected by the Executive Director in consultation with the officers based on availability and interest.

3. Each agency or organization will select its own representative.

4. If a school representative resigns, the alternate will take his/her place.

5. If a member (agency, staff, school representative or alternate) is not present for two consecutive meetings, the Membership Committee may convene to solicit new representation.


1. The Special Needs Advisory Council will meet every month during the school year, September through June.

2. The meetings will be chaired by the Council Chair or his/her designee.


1. The Council will set three to five action areas at the year end.

2. Action areas set by the Council will be determined by the full membership of the Council.

Committees and Working Groups

1.   Committees and working groups and other roles including liaisons shall be appointed as needed by the council subject to council approval. Working groups will be determined by the action areas set for the year.

2. Each parent representative will be encouraged to participate on at least one working group.

3. Working groups may invite persons who are not members of the Council to work on specific projects as warranted.

4. Each working group will report to the Council on a regular basis during the year.

5. The full Council agreement will be solicited on any necessary action.

6. Timeline:  Working groups will keep staff apprised of their progress and evolving recommendations.  The mid year report shall be a progress report updating readers on work groups' products and implementation of previous year's recommendations.  Recommendations will be finalized by March.  Staff will provide a preliminary reaction.  This will allow the council to develop areas for the following school year.  The final report shall be presented at the academic year end, allowing staff and parent liaisons to develop action plans over the summer. All recommendations to the Superintendent will be presented in a written report. The Council can expect a response within one month from date of submission. The approved report will be distributed to the full SNAC Council and to the Board of Education.


1. Consensus is the preferred mode of decision-making.  Consensus is defined as the process by which each member feels they have had a chance to share their views, feels they have heard others' views, the decision was reached through an open and fair process, even if it may not be what the person wanted originally.  Each person will support the decision outside the room with their actions and words.

2. If consensus cannot be reached, a majority of the members present must vote favor of the motion in order for the motion to be approved.

3. At least 3 parents and at least 3 staff must be present for a vote to establish a quorum necessary for a vote.


1. The Executive Director of ECSS will be the liaison between the Special Needs Advisory Council and district-level or school administration.

2. All meetings and agenda items must be publicly announced enough in advance of the meeting to afford interested parties a reasonable opportunity to attend and meetings must be open to the public.

3. Official minutes must be kept on all Council meetings and shall be made available to the public on request.  Final approved version of minutes will be sent to the Communications Chair webmaster.

4. Twenty copies of the agenda will be brought to Council meetings by district personnel. Minutes from previous meetings will be available on the SNAC website and printed copies will be available by request.

5. The Membership Committee, Vice Chair or designee will provide an updated sign in sheet and bring it to each Council meeting, and the Communications Chair will update the website with current information.

6. The SNAC Chair will create and distribute the agenda to Executive Director of Ecxeptional Children and Student Services and the updated SNAC EMAIL LIST prior to monthly council meeting.

7. The SNAC Communications Chair will electronically distribute all meeting minutes and reports to members and post on the SNAC website.

8. The point person for all district communication requests, including web postings, backpack letters, Connect Ed messages, shall be the Communications Chair.  The Communications Chair shall communicate all requests to the Executive Director for Community Relations at Lincoln Center for distribution.

9. SNAC Chair and/or Vice chair will work with EC Director and/or Assistant Director to schedule SNAC meetings for entire year and book appropriate space.

10. Council members may request to place items on the agenda by calling or sending an email to the Chair prior to a meeting.

11. When deemed necessary by Council members, the Council will solicit input from the community.

12. The officers, Executive Director of ECSS shall meet and/or email once a month midway between council meetings to discuss issues related to the council.


1. Amendments to these by-laws shall be proposed by a Council member and submitted to the Council at least one week before the voting will be held.  If 2 or more members request more time, the election to amend will be postponed.

2. Bylaws may be amended by a 2/3 vote of those present at a Council meeting when a quorum is present.