Minutes — February 2017 Project Development Committee Meeting

2017 Council and Committee Meetings


Committee Members Present

  • Gladys Cortez, Chair
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Ivy Goldstein, DSHS
  • Scott McAvoy
  • David Taylor
  • John Thomas
  • Rick Tisch

Committee Members Absent

  • Jennifer Kaut, TWC
  • Dana Perry
  • Ron Roberts, TEA

Guest Present

  • Isabel Evans

Staff Present

  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Danny Fikac
  • Fernando Rodriguez

Call To Order

The Project Development Committee met on Thursday, February 10, 2017, at the Holiday Inn Austin – Midtown, 6000 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin, Texas 78752. Committee Chair Gladys Cortez called the meeting to order at 8:33 AM. A quorum was present.

  1. Introductions
    Committee members, staff and guests were introduced.

  2. Public Comments
    No public comments were offered.

  3. Consideration Of Minutes
    The Committee reviewed minutes of the November 3, 2016, Project Development Committee meeting. No additions or corrections were noted.

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the November 3, 2016, Project Development Committee.
    MADE BY: Scott McAvoy
    SECOND: John Thomas
    The motion passed unanimously.

  4. Chair’s Remarks
    Chair Cortez made several announcements:

    • Dana Perry has an excused absence and will not be able to attend the meeting.

    • The Texas Workforce Commission and Texas Education Agency representatives would not be able to attend.

    • Cortez advised that if Council members are going to continually miss meetings they need to reconsider their appointment to the Council.

    • Committee members were encouraged to review future meeting locations.

    • Council Chair Mary Durheim and Executive Director Beth Stalvey have been in touch with staff from the Governor’s Appointments Office and noted that eight applications have been submitted for consideration. Committee members discussed the requirements for appointment and the Developmental Disabilities Act requirement that membership meets the geographic representation of the state as well as the diversity of the state with respect to race and ethnicity.

    • The Committee was reminded that the Personal Financial Statements are due to the Texas Ethics Commission by May 1, 2017

  5. Member Updates
    Council members Scott McAvoy and Ivy Goldstein participated on the Texas Consumer Integration Support Conference call. They discussed day habilitation alternatives and support for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) settings rule compliance required by March 2019. Staff noted that the State Plan Objective 1.4 deals with providing community-based meaningful day activities.

  6. Disproportionalities and Disparities Discussion
    The Committee discussed a handout on Disproportionality and Disparities which focused on English Language Learners (ELL) who receive special education. Chair Cortez read an excerpt from the Houston Chronicle included in the handout. Planning Director Joanna Cordry provided updates on work from both Planning and Public Policy staff who identified organizations that have testified regarding bilingual education. Staff intend to identify opportunities for collaboration with the organizations and report back to the Council. Public Policy staff will continue to track and advocate on legislation filed on this subject during 85th Texas Legislature. Staff also reported that discussions with grantees indicated that federal mandates for ELL may conflict with the cultural differences in their communities. The Committee determined that additional research is still needed.

  7. Staff Reports

    1. Status of New/Approved Projects
      Grants Management Director Cynthia Ellison reported that there were no new projects started during the previous quarter.
    2. Projected Available Funds
      Operations Director Martha Cantu reported that TCDD projects are currently operating from FY 2016 funds. Although a negative balance of $37,817 is reflected for FY 2016, staff expect to have funds returned from current grantees which will aid in eliminating that deficit. Currently, TCDD has 15 employees and two vacancies. An available18th Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) was not budgeted for FY 2017. There were no questions for Cantu.

    3. Other Updates
      Planning Director Cordry reported that the Annual Program Performance Report was submitted by the December 31, 2016 deadline. Currently, Planning staff members are working on the Request for Proposals for a Sibling Network and additional Developmental Disabilities Policy Fellows projects.
      Cordry announced that current TCDD grantee Educational Programs Inspiring Communities, Inc. developed an application with Papa John’s that was used by employees with disabilities at the Super Bowl. The Committee discussed the demographics of the participants and asked to see an example of the application.
      Cordry reported on current activities of former TCDD grantees and noted that seven grantees have continued or extended their activities. Project DOCC Houston ended in 2010 but confirmed that it has expanded the project activities. It addresses physicians’ understanding of a family’s experiences with the severe and complex medical issues of children with disabilities.
      The Committee was interested in knowing how the collected information is used to develop sustainability in future projects. Cordry reported that sustainability is continued through a project’s collaborative partners or through continued activities of the participants.
      The Committee was updated on the progress of Partners in Policymaking. Executive Director Stalvey announced that the website launched Wednesday, February 1, 2017. Applications are accessible until May 1, 2017 and individuals can apply online or submit by mail. Speakers have been confirmed and there are 35 openings for participants in the first class. Following Committee questions about sustainability, Stalvey noted that it is addressed in the contract and Johnson Applied Solutions is committed to creating sustainability. An alumni tab is available on the website for Partners graduates to offer support and maintain contact with the current program. The Project Advisory Committee has been established and it contains five Partner graduates as well as Committee Chair Gladys Cortez. It was suggested that Partners graduates could be encouraged to submit Council member applications.

  8. Future Activities For State Plan Implementation

    State Plan Projects List
    The Committee discussed the list of projects that must be developed to address goals and objectives in the FY 2017 — FY 2021 State Plan and Planning Director Cordry provided the status of these projects. Proposals for the Youth Leadership project were presented to the Executive Committee and funding was awarded to three organizations.
    Cordry updated the Committee on the following objectives from the State Plan Projects List:

    • Objective 3.1 — Rural Projects and Outreach:
      • Both Light and Salt, and REACh continue with a $75,000 Culturally Appropriate Family Support grant. Chair Cortez inquired if the Leadership Development and Advocacy project from Easter Seals Central Texas meets the Outreach Objective because Easter Seals provides bilingual (English and Spanish) training in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Cordry stated that the project activities are consistent that objective but that project was intended to meet the objective for leadership and advocacy training.

    • Objective 3.4 — Support self-advocates and family members:
      • TCDD offered stipends to individuals/parents to participate in statewide workgroups and advisory committees. However, the agencies supporting these workgroups and committees are or will be providing funds to ensure public members can participate. TCDD will need to develop an activity to meet the State Plan objective.

    • Objective 3.1 — Support at least nine leadership development and advocacy skills training programs:
      • TCDD planned to fund four leadership development advocacy projects but currently has only funded three programs. The Council has until 2021 to fund the fourth project.

      • The Committee support the idea to develop a leadership development and advocacy project to support local self-advocacy groups. They directed staff to research ideas to execute this support and bring information to the Committee.

  9. Future Project Funding Priorities
    The Committee reviewed the current list of projects and made no changes to the list of priorities that have been approved for funding.

  10. Other Discussion Items
    The Committee discussed accomplishments TCDD would like to see from the 85th legislation session. Committee member Rich Tisch would like to see the Rainy-Day Fund accessed to fund items consistent with TCDD priorities.

    Executive Director Stalvey stated that there are a number of things that members can do to advocate on issues between meetings and TCDD staff can assist members with follow-up to their legislators if requested.


There being no further business, Chair Cortez adjourned the meeting at 9:43 AM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council