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NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Blind
 
 

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Minutes

December 11, 2009

Due to budget restrictions, this meeting was held by conference call.  The out-of-town members were connected via telephone while the Raleigh-based members met in the conference room of Fisher Building in Raleigh, NC. 

Call to Order 

Chairman Gary Ray called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m.  Introductions were made.  Invocation was offered by Barbria Bacon.   

Present in the Conference Room:  Mary Flanagan, Acting DSB Director; Kathy Davis, NCAER President; Barbria Bacon, GMS Director; Linda Gunner, NC Association of Educators; Lawrence Carter, GMS Alumni Association; Dr. Ricky Scott, President of GMS Alumni Association; Gina Powell, Outreach and Volunteer Services Librarian at the NC Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped; William Tubilleja, NCAER President-Elect; and Carla Parker, Division of Services for the Blind. 

On the Conference Call:  Steve Walker, NC Lions Foundation; Allen Casey, President of NC Council for the Blind; Tommy Jenkins, Commission for the Blind; Jennifer Talbot, President of Prevent Blindness NC; Tim Jones, Chair of Elected Committee of Blind Vendors and First Vice-President of the National Federation of the Blind; Connie Alexander, President of NC Association of Workers for the Blind and Ron Eller, First Vice-President of the NC Council of the Blind.

Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Steve Walker, seconded by Tim Jones, and carried to approve the minutes of September 11, 2009. 

The agenda items will be out of order for today’s meeting.  The meeting will begin with “Old Business” and “New Business” rather than the “Reports of Entities”.

Old Business 

Continuing discussion of the future of the Governor Morehead School, residential school for the Blind.  Last September, the CAAC voted to take the issue up and take a next step.   

Tim Jones made a motion that the CAAC approach the legislature of North Carolina and begin to explore setting up the residential school for the Blind, GMS, as a fully state-funded local education agency out from under the Department of Health and Human Services.  This motion was seconded by Connie Alexander.  Vote was taken with all in the affirmative, no negatives and 1 abstention from Prevent Blindness North Carolina.   

Discussion followed the motion.  Question was asked what the characteristics of an LEA. Chair Ray responded to this question by explaining it would be just like a regular county or city school system with a school board and superintendent.   

For historical purposes, Chair Ray explained that years’ ago, GMS reported to the Governor, and then GMS was moved under the Division of Services for the Blind.  Later, GMS was moved from DSB to DEIE (Division of Early Intervention and Education) and currently GMS reports to OES (Office of Educational Services).   

Question was asked about GMS’s function as a LEA with regards to enrolling students.  Currently GMS is accepting students from other LEA’s.   LEA’s can trade students and funding is not tied to the student.  

New Business

None 

REPORTS OF ENTITIES:

Regional Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped—Gina Powell

Upcoming LBPH closing dates:  December 24 & 25, 2009, January 1, 2010, and January 18, 2010.

Digital Transition—The digital transition is going well.  Currently, there are 600 standard and advanced machines issued to readers.  E01 machines are in short supply and refurbished are difficult to obtain so there is concern with transitioning patrons with E01 machines. 

The problem with the labeling and bar coding of the digital books has been resolved.  Over 735 titles are available in digital cartridge format.  Approximately 16,500 titles available through Braille and audio recording download. 

Due to budget concerns, the satellite location where Braille materials were stored has been closed.  The active portion of the Braille collection and the current 2 years, as mandated by NLS, are maintained and the Library contracted with the Perkins Library in Boston to provide backup services. 

The Library celebrated its 50th Anniversary this past summer. 

A “Volunteer Recognition” dinner was held in November.

Through the partnership with Friends of the NC Library, patrons were able to be served efficiently.  They provided financial support needed to expand our services and extended our ability to reach out to unserved North Carolinians. 

Other significant events during 2009 were:  New website; addition of the new DVD service; addition of the talking digital talking book services; video describing the services of the library; participation in a statewide reading program; 50th anniversary celebration, and attended the VIP Fishing Tournament.

Governor Morehead School—Barbria Bacon 

GMS staff has been very busy working on the Southern States Accreditation.  The On-Site study is scheduled for February 15-17.  The Christmas Program is Friday, December 18, at 10 a.m. for the K-12 Program in Lineberry and at the Preschool at 10 a.m.   

The Central Braille Challenge is scheduled for March 4 on the Governor Morehead School campus. 

The 150th Celebration for the Arts is planned for April 30-May 2. 

The model for services for the visually impaired continues.   

From the legislature last year, GMS was required to develop a plan to address efficiency in government.  This takes into consideration efficiency in state government, budgeting, cost-savings, consolidation of school programs in OES.   

Division of Services for the Blind—Mary Flanagan

DSB is currently conducting a comprehensive statewide needs assessment which is a RSA requirement.  The contractor is East Carolina University.  This entails conducting surveys of DSB’s consumers and other stakeholders.  Dr. Sligar, ECU, will be interviewing Gary Ray and Allen Casey after this meeting.  The deadline for completion of the needs assessment is the end of February.  A report will be provided to the Division.   

Budget—In August, the Governor requested each agency for a   5% hold back.  Now that 5% has been reverted back to the State.  DSB did give up about $700,000 which most of that was Medical Eye Care.  

ARRA—As part of the American Recovery and Reinforcement Act, the Division received funds for VR and ILR.  DSB did create 3 part-time temporary positions.  These positions are Social Security Specialists and two are located in Raleigh and one is located in Winston-Salem. 

DSB is also creating 2 full time temporary positions that will focus on Transition.  Their job duties will entail meeting with EC Directors and Superintendents of LEA’s to inform them about our transition services and promote cooperative agreements with DSB.  They will also talk with families, other professionals, and students in helping to identify job opportunities.     

DSB has been working on a cooperative agreement with 4 counties (Nash, Pitt, Edgecombe and Wilson).  These counties had a number of visually-impaired high school students that would directly benefit from having a transition counselor but no one county could support a single program.  Each EC Director was contacted regarding forming a regional program and they were in agreement.  This program will have a Rehabilitation Counselor and Community Employment Specialist.   DSB hopes to have these 2 positions posted the beginning of the year.   

The position for the DSB’s Director Position was posted and the applications went directly to DHHS.  No dates for interviews have been set.  The CAAC is very concerned about hiring a new Director.  Ms. Flanagan will relay this to Ms. Spaulding at DHHS.   

Prevent Blindness North Carolina—Jennifer Talbot

Prevent Blindness adult program has changed its model from serving senior centers to focusing on federal qualified health centers and rural health centers.  Money has been received from Blue Cross Blue Shield and Kate B. Reynolds to assist in serving these populations.  

North Carolina Council of the Blind—Allen Casey

State Convention was held in Raleigh on September 25-27.  The ACB national convention will be held in Phoenix in July 2010.   

Legislative Seminar will be held in Washington, DC, February 19-23, 2010. 

Ron Eller has been elected to the Randolph Sheppard Vendors of America Board.   

Two legislative issues:  1) Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act (Quiet Car Bill) and 2) 21st Century Communications and Menu Accessibility Act (this relates to accessibility to the internet and emergency broadcast messages for the blind).   

National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina—Gary Ray

Today is your last chance to purchase a Louis Braille Commemorative Silver Dollar.   

The State Convention was held in September.  The Washington Seminar will be held the first week in February.  The National Convention will be held in Dallas in 2010.   

North Carolina Association of Workers for the Blind—Connie Alexander

The Board meeting was held in September.  A committee was comprised to work on increasing membership.  Their 2010 convention will be held in July 16-18 and will be held on GMS Campus. “A Christmas in July” sale will be held at the convention.  Proceeds will go the GMS.   

North Carolina Association for Education & Rehabilitation of the Blind & Visually Impaired—Kathy Davis and William Tubilleja

Membership is at 104 members.  At the last Board meeting, discussion was held regarding sending a member to the international meeting in July in Littlerock, Arkansas.   

The one and a half day “Super Conference” will be held March 25 and 26.  The keynote speaker will be Ike Presley from the American Foundation for the Blind.  Mr. Presley is a leading expert on assistive technology and evaluation for the blind and visually impaired.   

Five or Six responses have been received in response to our call for papers.  The deadline has been extended to December 21. 

The Louis Braille coin will be sold at the “Super Conference”.   

Elected Committee of Vendors—Tim Jones

Mr. Jones is pleased to see that CAAC is beginning to be proactive.   

The Elected Committee of Vendors produced 11.4 million of sales.  The average income for an operator is approximately $42,000. 

After many years of hard work, DSB’s Business Enterprise Program is now operating the Fort Bragg Military Contract.     

Ricky Scott—GMS Alumni

The convention was held in August.  At a request from GMS, a survey was disseminated to participants to gather information from former students asking their input regarding their experiences while at GMS and make recommendations that would benefit future students.  Responses were given to GMS staff.    

GMS alumni is currently planning their 2010 convention which will be held at the Holiday Inn North August 6-8, 2010.   

On January 16, the Winter Business Meeting will be held at the Brownstone Hotel in Raleigh.   

Adjournment

Following an adjournment motion made by Kathy Davis, seconded by Tim Jones, and carried, the Consumer Advocacy and Advisory Committee adjourned at 2:40 p.m. 

The next CAAC meeting is March 12, 2010. 

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