The Arc’s local and state leaders engage with members at informative annual meeting

The Arc of Katy substantially advanced delivery of its strategic plan in fiscal year 2018-2019, maintaining and growing quality programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families and meeting our financial goal of operating within a balanced budget for the first time in several years.

Also, The Arc of Texas, in collaboration with other advocates for people with special needs, progressed policy priorities statewide this year to assist people with IDD access quality supports and services to meet their needs and choices.

About 55 people at The Arc of Katy Annual General Membership Meeting on Sept. 10 heard updates on programs and issues important to local and state affiliates of The Arc. Attending were program participants, family members, staff, volunteers, community leaders including City of Katy Mayor Bill Hastings; State Representative Gina Calanni; Paula Gibson, Fort Bend District Director for State Senator Lois Kolkhorst; several Katy Independent School District educators and others interested in programs and services for people with IDD.

The Arc of Katy program participants Billy Schuiten, Nathan DuFour, Aryn Simone and Keith Butler greeted and offered refreshments to guests as they arrived at the meeting; Brandon Todd helped open the meeting and Susan Bode offered an invocation. The Arc of Katy Board of Directors President Fred Shafer recognized these participants and Ben Palen, who also attended, and introduced Board officers, members and staff of The Arc of Katy.

The Arc of Katy Delivers Key Objectives of Annual Plan
and Focuses on Board Development and Strategic Plan Update

Shafer credited The Arc of Katy’s successful 2018-2019 fiscal year on the dedication of staff, families, participants and volunteers, including the Board of Directors.

The Arc of Katy Treasurer Mike Lattal highlighted key aspects of the 2018-2019 financial performance and budget for 2019-2020. With an annual budget of about $382,000, Lattal reported that administrative costs account for only about 7 percent of the budget. The remaining expenses are related to program delivery including payroll, facility rent and vehicles for transportation. Income sources including tuition, fund-raising events, memberships and donations fully funded costs in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Shafer reiterated that The Arc of Katy had successfully advanced a comprehensive financial plan, balanced budget for 2019-2020, robust budget development process with input from committee leaders and staff, professional bookkeeping services, a clear 2018-2019 audit, ADP payroll services, increased funding opportunities and enhanced marketing and communications.

He also reported on The Arc of Katy Empowerment Through Knowledge program that provides information and resources to family members, caregivers and others who work with people with IDD. Another program now branded by the organization is The Arc of Katy Cares to emphasize that, in addition to benefitting from generosity of our community, our participants and families also are focused on being engaged with and of service to our community.

Shafer said that with an objective of continuous improvement the board has begun a board development effort to identify and address gaps and will then conduct a strategic planning refresh with long-term view of what The Arc aims to do to meet growing need for programs and services for people with IDD and their families in the Katy area.

The Arc of Texas Advances Policy Issues to Support and Enhance Services and Programs for People with IDD

Chief Executive Officer of The Arc of Texas Jennifer Martinez and Kyle Piccola, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, discussed statewide focus, activities, programs and events of the organization that are focused on promoting, protecting and advocating for human rights and self-determination of Texans with IDD.

During the most recent state legislative session, for example, The Arc of Texas staff and volunteers tracked over 220 bills with a focus on criminal justice, special education, employment, voting and long-term services for people with IDD. In partnership with members they testified 70 times this year on over 30 bills.

Priority bills for The Arc of Texas that passed in 2019 include:
• House Bill 3116 authored by Rep. White and Sen. West that directs the Texas Commission on Jail Standards to create a task force to develop standards and best practices for jails to support unique needs of people with IDD when they are detained.
• House Bill 3540 by Rep. Burns and Sen. Hughes that provides flexibility for peace officers when called to a Health Care Services group home or an intermediate care facility to ensure the residents with IDD are not wrongfully arrested for minor altercations with housemates.
• House Bill and 3630 and Senate Bill 712 by Rep. Meyer and Sen. Lucio that prohibits dangerous discipline and behavior management techniques known as “aversive techniques” from being used on students, specifically students with disabilities.
• House Bill 4531 authored by Rep. Neave and Sen. Zaffrini that ensures individuals with IDD have a way to seek justice through evidence collection and sexual assault services after surviving a sexual assault.
• House Bill 4533 by Rep. Klick and Sen. Kolkhorst that requires development and implementation of a pilot to test delivery of the social services under managed care for individuals with IDD and similar functional needs.
• Senate Bill 753 authored by Sen. Huffman and Rep. Raney that transitions the purchasing from People with Disabilities Program away from paying individuals with IDD less than the federal minimum wage.
• Senate Bill 2038 by Sen. Rodriguez and Rep. Fierro that increases occupational skill training opportunities for people with IDD by identifying potential funding and outlining specific occupations in high-demand industries in this state for which a post-secondary certification, occupational license or other workforce credential is required and that may be appropriate for individuals with IDD.

In addition, state budget items helping individuals with IDD included about $219.6 million appropriated to cover past state shortfalls in special education; a change in mainstream weight that results in more funding for students in special education; additional funding for Early Childhood Intervention services; and $50 million to help school districts recover from the performance monitoring indicator.

However, while 1,628 Medicaid waivers were funded in the state budget, more than 155,000 people remain on the waiting list and the average wait time 16 years.

Other 2019 Annual Meeting Business
In addition to hearing updates on The Arc of Katy and The Arc of Texas, members of the organization acted in the meeting on three governance issues:
• Approved September 11, 2018, Annual Meeting Minutes
• Approved terms and election of board officers and members
• Approved amended Articles of Incorporation

See more photos from The Arc of Katy 2019 Annual General Membership Meeting in Gallery.