SASED is a special education joint agreement, commonly referred to as a special education cooperative. In Illinois, joint agreements/cooperatives are established by multiple school districts “to provide needed special education facilities and to employ a director and other professional workers…” (105 ILCS 5/10-22.31) “…for the purpose of providing comprehensive and cost efficient special education services” (Illinois School Code, 2012, p.297)
SASED member districts are responsible to provide special education and related services to the majority of students with disabilities that reside within their boundaries. As an extension of each member district, SASED is there to create, provide and support a complete continuum of programs and services for all students with disabilities ages from 3 through 22. From specialized instructional environments for students with moderate to severe or low incidence disabilities, to the placement of highly specialized staff, through the provision of consultative services and professional development, SASED provides leadership in the field as well as direct service to students, their families and the staffs that serve them.
SASED is actually one of the oldest and largest joint agreements in the state. The first joint agreement in Illinois was established in 1957. SASED was established with 35 member districts in 1958. Since that time our membership has expanded and contracted but we currently serve 18 member public school districts here in DuPage County. This makes us the third largest cooperative in the state.
So what does a special education cooperative provide to its member districts and their communities:
There are three other special education cooperatives that serve school districts in DuPage County. The Cooperative Association for Special Education (CASE) serves 7. The Northern DuPage Special Education Cooperative, (NDSEC) serves 8 and the LaGrange Area Department of Special Education (LADSE) serve 4 DuPage districts and 11 more in Cook County. There are also school districts in DuPage County who are not a member of any special education cooperative, but their students can access some of the highly specialized programs and services SASED provides for the DuPage West Cook Regional Cooperative (DWC). As the fiscal and operating agent for DWC, SASED is a regional provider of Low Incidence programs and services for students who are Blind/Visually Impaired or Deaf and Hard of Hearing. There are 92 school districts and cooperatives in DuPage and West Cook Counties that are a part of this regional cooperative. SASED also acts as the fiscal and operating agent for over 10 million dollars worth of state, federal and university based grant programs. We believe that our support of these initiatives benefits everyone through their efforts to provide educational entities across Illinois and the nation with professional learning and technical assistance to build educator capacity and improve practices at the building and classroom levels to impact student growth and outcomes. Administratively SASED is organized much like a school district. However, we operate as an independent legal entity under Illinois School Code which requires us to have two Boards to oversee our operations and governance respectively. The body overseeing our operations is the Board of Directors. The group charged with supervising the legal and governance requirements of the organization is the SASED Governing Board. Each Board has 18 members giving equal representation to every SASED district. For over 57 years SASED has been at the forefront in developing and providing direct services, professional learning and technical assistance to the districts, educators, families and students within our region. At all times we strive to exemplify our motto of “Teaching, Leading and Believing.”