Oklahoma, www.OK.gov
Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council - Home
spacer image
Skip Nav Skip to Search
FAQs  |  Contact  |  ORC Calendar
spacer image
get adobe reader
email icon Email   |   print icon Print  

Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council May 20, 2010 Minutes

2nd Floor Conference Room

3535 NW 58th Street ● Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112

May 20, 2010, 2010 ● 9:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.

Full Council Regular Quarterly Meeting


Members Present: Milissa Gofourth, Sterling Krysler, Marilyn Burr, Glenda Farnum, Cindy Gallup, Kathleen Kennedy, Connie Lake, Hailey Mathis, Jon Ringlero, Perry Sanders

Members Absent: Mike O’Brien, Tammie Jones, Sue Williams, Nancy Garner, Doug MacMillan, Jr., Jacki Millspaugh, Tim Parrish, Amy Salmon, Sabrina Ware, Sue Williams

Others Present: Betsy LeFrancois, Norman Public Schools, Moore-Norman OTI Team; Letha Bauter, State Department of Education; Melinda Fruendt, DRS VR Project  Coordinator; Mark Kinnison, DVS Field Coordinator; David Couch, Acting DVR Administrator; Jane Nelson, DRS VS Division Administrators, Jean Jones, DRS Legislative Information Representative.

Council Support: Theresa Hamrick, ORC Programs Manager, Kathleen Reed, DRS Commission Assistant/ORC Support

Interpreters: Tonya Puryear, Daniel Woodward

Call to order and Roll Call: The meeting was called to order at 9:30 a.m., the roll was called and a quorum was established by Milissa Gofourth, Chairperson.

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING - Milissa Gofourth, Chair

Consumer Comments/Announcements:Being none, Milissa Gofourth, Chairperson, moved to action items

Action Items:

Review and discussion with possible vote to approve the February 18, 2010 ORC Strategic Plan Meeting Minutes.  A copy of the minutes were provided in the May, 2010 ORC Meeting packet.

Motion to approve the minutes as submitted – Perry Sanders. 

Motion seconded - Hailey Mathis

Voting aye – Majority affirmative vote.  Voting nay: None

            Motion passed.

Review and discussion with possible vote to approve the April 8, 2010 ORC Strategic Plan Meeting Minutes.  A copy of the April 8, 2010, ORC Strategic Plan is provided in the May 2010 ORC Meeting packet.

            Motion to approve the minutes as amended – Marilyn Burr. 

            Motion seconded - Perry Sanders

Voting aye – Majority affirmative vote.    Voting nay: None   

            Motion passed.

Review and discussion with possible vote to approve the ORC Bylaw Changes,

Ms. Gofourth explained that the ORC bylaws have not been reviewed since 1999, although they are very solid some of them needed to be updated. 

            Motion to approve the ORC Bylaw Changes as submitted – Glenda Farnum

            Motion seconded - Cindy Gallop

Voting aye – Majority affirmative vote.    Voting nay: None

            Motion passed.


Oklahoma Transition Institute (OTI) Team - Betsy LeFrancois, a representative from the Moore OTI explained the team includes teachers, agency representatives, parents and students from across the district. They have quarterly meetings and try to attend all the OTI events.  The OTI received a state grant for the past two years, and they hope to get one for the next year.  Their main focus is Student Self Advocacy and Parent Involvement.  One of their main goals is to provide Self Directed IEP kits for each school.  A Self Directed IEP Step Sheet was distributed to the ORC members. This guide sheet allows the student to lead their own IEP meetings.  It explains how to review past goals and performance, as well as, modifications.  It allows the students to have input for their Education Plan.  All the students are trained through their 9th and 10th grade English classes.  This training gives the students empowerment. 

One of their goals for next year is to “Train the Trainers” on the Self Directed IEP Steps.  This goal would encourage each school to send one teacher to the training. That teacher/trainee will then go back and train the teachers from their school.  Steps are divided into the years of school – Junior High through High School.  This is done so by the time the students get to high school they have learned a number of the steps. The Moore OTI also has monthly parent meetings to include first and secondary schools and representatives from state agencies and colleges, panels of students, and Zarrow Center representatives who are great advocates of transition. These meetings are held at neutral site and are parent driven.  One of the things that has been beneficial is the explanation of the Sections of the IEP Meeting, so parents learn the terminology of an IEP and what is expected of them as a parent of a child with special needs.  The last two summers “One Day Parent – Teacher – Student” Conferences have been held; the grant money is used as stipends for the students to attend.   

Moore OTI has developed a Goal Bank of Transition Goals that was provided to all the Junior High and High School teachers. They have a work/study program where students through Voc-Rehab are employed at the schools and in the community. Unfortunately, one of the main problems is transportation for students who do not drive.

There is a program online through the Zarrow Center called “Path Skills” and another program in development called the “Me Curriculum” which is aligned with “Path Skills”. It is a great program available for free.  It allows the student to research their disability and learn about it so they can get in the habit of speaking for themselves.

Jane Nelson shared that the Department of Education has tacked onto this Self-Directed IEP step process.  These guidelines may be something OSD/OSB would be interested in implementing.  

Ms. Gofourth thought the self directed training would be beneficial for students in transition to also utilize in the IPE process.  This could be a project the T&E committee could investigate.

Committee Reports:

Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council Executive Committee Report – Milissa Gofourth, ORC Chair

Ms. Gofourth reviewed the ORC Executive Committee report that was provided in the May, 2010 ORC meeting packet.  In addition, Ms. Gofourth received an email this morning from Mr. Charles Sadler, Rehabilitation Service Administration. It included an update on various National State Rehabilitation Council activities he wanted to have passed onto the State Rehabilitation Council members.

  • A National Employment Conference will be held on September 16 – 17, 2010.
  • The Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston will be doing some research on four VR agencies. This research is to include Managing Outreach, Improving Employment Outcomes, and Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Mental Illness and People with Developmental Disabilities.  They are asking stakeholders to nominate practices using the web link.
  • RSA has issued an Information Memorandum on the distribution procedures for the Recovery of Disallowed Cost. RSA, in their roll of monitoring states, they look at not only the programmatic issues, but they look at the financial issues. So if they have determined that the agency has been reimbursed for costs that are not allowed, there is a system that allows for the recovery of Disallowed Expenditures. It is important for SRC’s to understand the federal requirements regarding the recovery of disallowed cost as part of their roll to review, analyze and advise the agency on all types of issues; the SRC needs to be aware of both programmatic issues and financial responsibilities of the agency.

Comments on this issue:  Jean Jones, DRS Legislative Liaison, commented that the agency should use State dollars for their Disallowed Expenditures then use the state dollars as a federal match that would cause dollars to be used for disallowed funds. This scenario would be rare.

Jane Nelson, DRS VS Administrator, commented that Congress is questioning the use of the Stimulus money.  Oklahoma has focused funds for On the Job Training (OJT), although that program also has challenges. 

David Couch, DRS Chief of Staff and Acting DRS VR Administrator, commented that the utilization guidelines are changing daily.  There are some penalties connected with the misuse of the Stimulus money. The carryover from last year has helped keep all priority groups open.  Stimulus money, grants, Club House money and Tribal grants have been funding other projects.  The extended deadline is September 30, 2011. The additional three months has been added because DRS did not receive the Stimulus funds until three months after the designated date.  Stimulus money cannot be used for cliff projects, those that will end when the Stimulus money is gone.

Transition & Employment (T&E) – Milissa Gofourth, Interim Chair

Nancy Garner has agreed to Chair the T and E Committee beginning June 1st.  Ms. Gofourth reviewed the written report, which was provided in the ORC May 20, 2010 meeting packet.

Policy & Legislative Committee (P&L) – Glenda Farnum, Committee Chair

Ms. Farnum reviewed the written ORC Policy & Legislative Committee Report which was provided in the May 20, 2010 ORC meeting packet.

Comments on this issue: 

Ms. Melinda Fruendt, DRS VR Projects Coordinator, thanked Theresa Hamrick for all her hard work and planning to make the Legislative visits successful.

Planning & Program Committee (P&P) – Marilyn Burr, Committee Chair

Ms. Burr reviewed the written ORC Planning & Program Committee Report which was provided in the May, 2010 ORC meeting packet.

Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) Update

DRS Directors’ ReportDavid Couch, DRS Chief of Staff/Acting VR Administrator

Mr. Couch presented a combination of the Director’s Report, in the absence of Director O’Brien, and the VR Administrator’s Report. Director O’Brien has been attending graduations, awards ceremonies, and other meetings and trainings.

  • Budget Reductions:  Carryover money has allowed DRS to leave all priority groups open thus far.  DRS is in good financial standing at this time.  There may be word today regarding the DRS Budget Allocations.  Mr. Kevin Nelson, DRS legislative Liaison, will be attending the announcement meeting. OSB, OSD and the OLBPH are the most vulnerable to the state budget cuts as they don’t receive matching federal funds.
  • OSB will be hosting the National Wrestling Tournament in January 2011.  Sponsorship is welcome. More information will be forthcoming.
  • VR/VS “Update” conference was held this week. Director O’Brien addressed the VR/VS staff bringing them up-to-date on the recent VR/VS standards and goals. Mr. Couch shared that the meeting was very positive and upbeat. The group broke into divisions half way through the event and covered many other issues.
  • The Servant Leadership Training is being conducted by Dr. Carol Ann Washburn, who is coordinating the training with the HR Unit. It is currently being presented to the DRS Middle Management Team.
  • The next DRS Expo will be held at OSB in August “Save the Date” cards have been mailed to perspective sponsors, exhibitors, and partners.
  • Memorandums Of Understanding (MOU) for Veterans Administration (VA).
  • Mr. Couch has met with Ms. Burr regarding the use of MOU’s with VA to coordinate a search for disability applicants.  Ms. Terry Miller, DRS Program Field Representative, is working with Mr. B.J. Nevels, at the VA in a coordinated effort.  Ms. Miller takes applications and determines the eligibility for veterans with disabilities while they are still in the hospital. Once the client is released from the VA hospital their case is forwarded to their community counselor and is ready to be processed for service. David Butcher is doing the same process in Lawton and Muskogee area.
  • Mr. Couch is excited about the ORC “Keeping Track of Your Progress” and “Informed Choice” forms. He is anxious to get these tools rolled out to the DRS Counselors.  He has met with Mr. Mark Kinnison and the DRS Field Coordinators regarding the implementation of these tools for DRS clients.
  • Civil Rights Training:  One of DRS Tulsa consumers filed a complaint against DRS and took it all the way to the Federal Civil Rights Administration.  The Federal Civil Rights Negotiator met with Mr. Couch to develop an action plan for the client’s case. One of the client’s requests was for all VR/VS Specialists and Counselors to go through a complete ADA training. To comply with this request, a Federal Civil Trainer is coming to Oklahoma to train all DRS Counselors regarding ADA Regulations.
  • Assistive Technology Training Recommendations from ORC:  VR/VS are already implementing some of the ORC AT recommendations.

Visual Service (VS) Division Report – Jane Nelson, VS Administrator

Ms. Nelson reported that VS has really been focusing and struggling to meet their goals.  She commended Mr. Mark Kinnison and Ms. Susan Hawkins for their hard work with the VS Program Managers Counselors.

  • Ms. Nelson shared that she has not known of any other state agency providing training on the Servant Leadership. The training is invigorating and energizing.
  • VS Counselors participated in OSB Senior Day by donating enough funds for each student to have a $50 gift card. ORC provided gift bags that included a blanket, pens, and a thumb drive. One of the local churches provided lunch for the students.
  • This summer OSB will be hosting four ABLE trainings. One of the ABLE Training weeks will be designated for college bound students. 
  • The Rehab Teachers are very dedicated and doing a terrific job. Doug Ross, a blind client, who has been advocating for VR/VS training, has been doing volunteer work for DRS and has successfully placed clients in the workforce. 
  • Assistive Technology (AT) – Ms. Nelson has met with Director O’Brien regarding AT. She believes the Director has a plan in mind for AT but is not sure of the path that plan should be taking.  Ms. Nelson wants to send staff out-of-state to learn how AT services are provided in other states, and perhaps build, develop, and implement a model program for DRS. Her deadline is to try to have something in place before fall 2010.
  • The Summer BEFIT Program will begin shortly for VS high school students. Stimulus money is going to be used to do this training. Experience is very important when it comes to a job opportunity. 

Comments on these issues:  Ms. Gofourth asked if the out-of-state visits regarding AT will be specific for VS.  Ms Nelson advised that VS staff will be looking at it from a VS perspective, but VR and School staff are welcome to send their representatives and participate in the visits.

New DRS Video - Jody Harlan, DRS PIO Administrator

  • Ms Harlan thanked ORC for their support of People With Disabilities Awareness Day and the contribution of the PWPDAD buttons.
  • The new DRS video will be presented to the ORC members later in this meeting. The video entitled “What you need to know about Oklahoma VR and VS”.  She thanked John Ringlero for his influence of the new DRS Video.
  • There will be an ASL video that will be based on client responsibilities. 

Legislative Report – Jean Jones, DRS Legislative Information Officer

What happens to other agencies regarding budget may ultimately impact the DRS expenditures.  All human service agencies will be affected by budget reductions; if cuts change the access to health benefits, medications, and durable medical equipment, these services may have to be provided by DRS.  The Legislative Update is available on the DRS web site.  The highlights are:

  • HB 2567- Requiring municipalities to adopt disability parking ordinances, increases a fine up to $500 for illegal parking.  There is opposition to this bill in the Senate.
  • HB 3393 – Voucher mechanism – The Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program Bill has undergone a lot of changes and has not been adopted in either house.
  • HB 2906 – Intervention and assistance to vulnerable adults – Creating The Vulnerable Adult Intervention Team Pilot Program, to be established by DHS if funds are available.  DRS would have a seat on this task force. 
  • HB 3311 – Handling administrative rules for all state agencies.  Bill has gone through many changes.  The legislature will have to act on agency administrative rules, which will make it harder to pass emergency rules.
  • HB 2946 – Requires people with disabilities who might have accessibility complaints to notify businesses four months (120 days) in advance if they wish to file a civil suit charging the business with violations of ADA accessibility requirements. This is the state version of the ADA notification act. This should only affect law suits brought into state court.  It gives businesses the impression they have notification rights, when they won’t if a suit is filed in federal court. This has become law, signed by the Governor.
  • HB 2888 – A conference committee version of this bill creates a legislative committee to oversee state employee benefits.  It provides that all new state employees shall be informed that any excess benefit allowance they may have shall be deposited into a flexible spending account or a health savings account, if they are enrolled in a higher deductible health plan. 

Combined VR/VS Field Coordinators’ Report – Mark Kinnison, VS Field Services Coordinator

Mr. Kinnison reviewed the Combined VR/VS Report; a written report is available in the May 2010 ORC meeting Packet.

Statewide Independent Living Council  (SILC) Report – Perry Sanders, SILC Representative. 

  • Search for the SILC Executive Director position has been reopened and several new applications have already been received.
  • People with Disabilities Awareness Day (PWDAD) at the Capitol - SILC participated with legislative leaders to help guide consumers to the offices of their designated Legislator. Dr. Randal Elston, SILC Chair, received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • SILC is working on their State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). There is discussion on opening a satellite IL in another county should there be sufficient 2010 funding.

Program Manager Report - Theresa Hamrick.  Ms. Hamrick reviewed the written Program Manager’s report provided in the May 2010 ORC meeting packet.  

Other Business:  New Consumer Video – produced by DRS PIO unit, was viewed and discussed. This video can be found on the agency webpage.  The information presented is very valuable.

ORC Going Green - Was presented as part of the Executive Committee Report.

New Business:  Ms Gofourth appointed ORC members Sabrina Ware and Sue Williams to the ORC Nominating committee. This committee will work on a slate of officers for next year as outlined in the bylaws.

Jon Ringlero shared information that Director O’Brien has talked about increasing the relationship between DRS and the Tribal groups. An invitation has been extended to the DRS Program Managers and DRS Units to meet with Tribal Counselors. This has been a good opportunity to increase co-shared clients. He also shared that Director O’Brien has encouraged the agency to sponsor an upcoming cultural training in June and July.

Leslie Bauter, reported that Kim Osmani is involved in a meeting that is developing a State Plan for Transition.  In June, nominations can be submitted for the transition grant.  School teams have applied with some innovative ideas. The number of grants depends on the amount of the requests. The grant fund totals $6,000, and may be given, in total, to one entity or may divide out the amount for several entities.

Theresa Hamrick reminded everyone, again, that the Advocacy Training announcements are available to everyone to mail, post, and distribute.

 Adjournment:  Meeting was adjourned at 2:30 pm. 

Next meeting is scheduled for August 19, 2010, same location


May Minutes approved as corrected on 8.19.2010

Kathleen A.Reed

Kathleen A. Reed

Appointed Recording Secretary for ORC