Our History

The Southwest Regional Education Cooperative is an agency providing cooperative educational services for seven public school districts. The services available to member districts include instructional support, grants administration, compliance with state and federal regulations, professional development, Medicaid school-based services administration, a coordinated health services program, and other services as prescribed by the coordinating council.

History of Regional Education Cooperatives

Regional Educational Cooperatives (RECs) are established by the Regional Cooperative Education Act, 22-2B-1 to 22-2B-6, NMSA 1978.

The purpose of a REC is to provide education-related services to students of participating education entities.

In 1984 the New Mexico State Board of Education established ten Regional Center Cooperatives under SBE Regulation No. 84-6. The purpose of the RCCs is to provide services for local education agencies and eligible state supported schools under Public Law 94-142, the Education of the Handicapped Act IDEA-B). SBE Regulation No. 84.6 permits districts to submit consolidated applications to the Public Education Department for certain entitlement and discretionary funds under IDEA-B. Since 1984, RCCs have also established cooperative programs of education services with funds other than IDEA-B entitlement or discretionary funds, including Drug Free School and Communities Act of 1986, Title II-Critical Skills Improvement, School Based-Medicaid Services, and the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act of 1990, as well as other direct federal and state/local funding sources.

The 41st Legislative Session authorized the establishment of Regional Education Cooperatives (RECs) and the State Board of Education adopted SBE Regulation 93-23, which establishes the minimum criteria for the establishment, operation, and oversight of RECs. RECs are state agencies administratively attached to the Public Education Department. The Public Education Department (formerly the State Board of Education) authorizes the existence and operation of RECs formed by local school boards joining with other school boards or other state-supported education institutions. 


The Southwest Regional Education Cooperative has been in operation since 1984 when New Mexico began accepting federal funds through the Education for Handicapped Act (P.L. 94-142) reauthorized as the Individuals with disabilities Education Act-Part B (IDEA_B) in 1997. Members of Southwest Regional Education Cooperative as approved by the SBE are those entities approved in the New Mexico State Plan for distribution of PL 94-142 funds:  Animas Public Schools, Hatch Valley Public Schools, Lordsburg Municipal Schools, and Truth or Consequences Municipal Schools. Deming and Cobre Schools left the SWRRC June 30, 1991. Reserve Independent Schools joined July 1, 2001. Deming rejoined July, 2002 and Cobre rejoined 2011.

In September of 2001, the Coordinating Council (Superintendents from Animas Public Schools, Hatch Valley Public Schools, Lordsburg Municipal Schools, Reserve Independent Schools, and Truth or Consequences Municipal Schools) voted to transition from an RCC to an REC. A letter of application was submitted to the State Superintendent of Education and the State Director of Special Education on August 31, 2001 in accordance with SBE regulation 84-6.