The Board of Education initiated and sponsored a legislative proposal in 1974 that amended Chapter 40, Section 4E to clarify certain collaborative organizational and governance issues. Subsequently, a number of concerns surfaced over the role of collaboratives and the status of their employees. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education staff responded to those issues on a one-to-one basis or through legal advisory opinions, and in May of 1977, the Board adopted a formal policy on educational collaboratives.

Several important developments have occurred since 1977 that have policy implications for collaboratives. Most significant were the passage of Chapter 188 of 1985, the School Improvement Act and Chapter 727 of 1987, An Act Enhancing the Teaching Profession and Recognizing Educational Achievement. These laws greatly increased the state’s involvement with educational collaboratives, making them eligible to participate in certain state-funded programs and school assessment activities. The enactment of Chapter 631 of the Acts of 1985, An Act Relative to the Authority of Educational Collaboratives, was also significant in that it deemed collaboritives to be public entries and clarified the authority of the collaborative board of directors.

In light of these legislative developments, and in recognition of the expanded programs and services conducted by educational collaboritives, it became clear that much of the 1977 policy either had been superseded by law or no longer accurately reflected the Department’s view of collaboratives. The Board of Education adopts this Policy on Educational Collaboratives to update and formalize its evolving relationship with collaboratives.

How the 1988 Policy Differs from the 1977 Policy

The 1977 Policy emphasized that educational collaboratives are voluntary ventures undertaken jointly only upon the approval and authority of local school committees. The present policy supports the position that local school committees are responsible for the operation of their collaborative. This document further emphasizes that collaboratives have the potential to serve as important partners with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in its efforts to implement state-mandated programs and help school districts in a range of programmatic areas; including regular education, occupation education, special education, administration and professional development.

The following Policy includes positions that:

    • require planning for collaborative classrooms and for special education programs in least restrictive environments;
    • insure the gathering of increased information on collaborative pupils, finances and programs;
    • encourage and support the development of closer relationships between collaboratives and their key constituent groups; school committees, school leaders, parents and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education;
    • clarify the participation of collaboratives in state-administered grant programs, and
    • insure a periodic review of the Board of Education’s position on educational collaboratives.