• Section I

    Administrative Unit/Agency Characteristics


    A.        Type

    The Rio Blanco Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) is incorporated under applicable Colorado Laws to provide programs and services assigned by its Board of Directors.  The Board of Directors is comprised of all the school board members from each participating district who are together empowered to direct and are responsible to the electorate for the services and programs provided.


    Financial support of the cooperative is derived from local, state, and federal educational sources.  The BOCES board sets an annual budget that designates expenditures for all instructional and support areas needed for the agency.  Federal and state funding is applied to the costs with the balance coming from the local districts based upon the services received by that district.


    The director of special education with input from the district administrators determines the instructional and support staff needed to implement the special education programs within their service area.  The district then purchases needed services from the administrative unit on an actual cost basis.  Instructional and support staff providing services in a specific district are employed directly by the administrative unit (BOCES) as are those instructional and support staff members who serve more than one district.


    Support services are delivered from the administrative unit to the participating school districts’ instructional staff and special education students.  Local special education instructional staff members are expected to conform to the BOCES personnel policies as well as district personnel policies under their building principal.  Their professional responsibilities, as special educators, are supervised by the director of special education.  The unit’s staff is expected to conform to each district’s personnel requirements as well as those of the BOCES.  Support and instructional special education staff are supervised by the director who may delegate some of her/his supervisory responsibilities to local district administrators.


    B.        Characteristics

    The plan contains a description of the characteristics of the special education administrative unit as distinguished by demographic, geographic, sociological and economic factors. 3.01(5)


                Geographic Factors

    Rio Blanco BOCES provides services to all of Rio Blanco County schools.  Rio Blanco County is situated near the northwestern corner of the state.  It is 3,263 square miles in size and is bordered on the west by the state of Utah, on the south by Garfield County, on the east by Garfield and Routt Counties, and on the north by Routt and Moffat Counties.  The county is composed of two public school district, one centered in Meeker (RE1) and one centered in Rangely(RE-4).  The towns of Rangely and Meeker are the principal towns in the county.  They are approximately sixty miles apart and are connected by Colorado Highway 64.  The White River runs through the county and connects both towns.  The topography of the area ranges from the semiarid canyons and mesas found in the Rangely area to the White River Valley and more alpine regions of Meeker in eastern Rio Blanco county.  Rangely includes one of the largest and highest producing oil fields in the state of Colorado while the Meeker area is predominately surrounded by ranches established near the turn of the century.  Both towns are situated near large coal deposits.


                Demographic Factors

    The county has a population of 5,986.  The town of Rangely is comprised of 2,096 people and Meeker of 2,242 people leaving 1,648 people in the unincorporated areas of the county.  Approximately 1,200 students attend the schools served by Rio Blanco BOCES.  The school districts are almost equal in size.  Rangely School District has an elementary school (PK – 5), middle school (6 – 8) and a high school (9 – 12).  The Meeker School District has an early education center (PK – K), an elementary school (1 – 5), a middle school (6 –8), and a high school (9 – 12).  There does not appear to be a significant minority group within the county, although there are some Hispanic and Basque families in the area.  For the most part, the district is comprised of Caucasian students whose families would be classified as middle class.


                Sociological Factors

    Rio Blanco County includes families of all socio-economic groups.  Meeker has always had the most stable population base with many “old” families.  This is due in large part to the ranching industry with ranches being handed down generation after generation.  Due to the fairly recent addition of low-income housing, the increasingly higher cost of housing in Steamboat, Craig and Rifle and the large movement of families to the Colorado mountain areas, they are now seeing an increase of a more mobile population.  This coupled with an increase in the purchase of large ranches by people from outside the county who do not have a primary residence in Meeker is causing an impact on the community.


    Rangely has always been a community whose population is in flux due to the extractive industries.  The last few years have seen a decrease in population due to lay-offs in the oil and gas fields.  Deserado Mine, located just outside the town limits, has had stable employment over the last few years.  Rangely is also the home to Northwestern Community College.  Coupled with the public school system, they are the largest employer in the community.


    Although most of our school age children live in two parent homes, the county has seen an increase in children from homes with a single parent.  Families in the area range in size from small to very large.  The communities are conservative with a large number of people with a very fundamental belief system.  This definitely has its impact on elections and the policies of the public school systems.


                Economic Factors

    As mentioned previously Rio Blanco County is rich in energy resources primarily centered around petroleum and coal.  Some experts in the energy field have estimated that the multi-material energy reserves of Rio Blanco County may exceed those of any single Middle East nation.  The oil and gas fields in the Rangely area are considered to be some of the most productive fields in the United States.  Western Fuels of Utah has a large and modern coal mine based outside of Rangely that has been a major contributor to the economic growth of the area.


    Ranching still remains one of the primary foundations of the economy in the Meeker area.  Employment in governmental agencies also is a key factor in Meeker’s economic stability.  Such government agencies include the Bureau of Land Management and State Fish and Game.  Tourism, hunting and fishing have also contributed to the economy.


    Most families in Rio Blanco County are in the lower middle to the middle income bracket.  As previously mentioned, Meeker does have some low-income housing which has somewhat changed its socio-economic complexion in the last few years.


    History and Organization of the Rio Blanco BOCES


    Colorado’s Boards of Cooperative Educational Services were established by the “Boards of Cooperative Services Act of 1965”.  They were established as a “regional educational service unit designed to provide supporting, instructional, administrative, facility, community, or any other services contracted by participating members”.  22-5-103 (1) C.R.S.


    In establishing Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) the General Assembly declared the enactment was: “for the general improvement and expansion of educational services of the public schools in the state of Colorado; for the creation of boards of cooperative services where feasible for purposes of enabling two or more school districts to cooperate in furnishing services authorized by law”.


    The first BOCES was established on May 23, 1966.  The Rio Blanco BOCES was established in 1976.  Today there are 21 approved BOCES currently operating in Colorado. 


    While most BOCES member districts have small enrollments, sixteen member districts have one thousand five hundred to three thousand students, thirteen member districts enroll between three thousand and ten thousand students and six districts have enrollments over ten thousand students.  Whether large or small, BOCES member districts capitalize on the economy of scale while enhancing the scope of instructional and service opportunities for all districts and associate members.


    BOCES are financially supported by three funding sources:  federal dollars, state dollars, and local member districts.  Occasionally an individual BOCES is fortunate enough to receive a grant from a private source or a special grant from a state agency.  Basic assessments for each member district are based upon the services needed in that district.


    The twelve member Board of Directors which governs the Rio Blanco Board of Cooperative Educational Services is comprised of all of the elected members of the Rangely and Meeker School District boards.  Policy is in place adjusting voting percentages of the board to ensure equal representation of each district.  Under the BOCES board, administrative control is given to the executive director of the BOCES who is responsible as an executive officer to the board for all functions of the program.  Superintendents of the participating districts operate as ex officio members of the board with no voting privileges.  All special education staff working in the districts are BOCES employees and under the direct supervision of the director.  In all non-special educational matters, BOCES staff are subject to the building principal and district superintendent as per the regulations and policies of each participating district.


    The BOCES has on file with the State Department of Education a variance to CRS 3.01 (1)(a) regarding pupil membership and size.  This variance is requested each year due to several factors (remote location, travel distance within county area, local control issues, etc.) which prevent the unit from joining with other special education administrative units.


    C.        Resource Allocation

                This plan describes the administrative structure of the unit.  3.01(5)


                The special education program provided by the Rio Blanco BOCES is funded through federal, state and local funds.  The member school districts are assessed for the actual cost of the services provided in their school.  At times, the BOCES contracts with outside agencies and/or administrative units to provide additional services. 3.01(5)(a)


                Rio Blanco BOCES has a total of 1200 students between the two school districts served.  189 of those students are special education students.  The BOCES has a variance on file with the Department of Education regarding pupil membership and size. 3.01(1)(a)


                The director of special education is responsible for the development, implementation, administration, maintenance, monitoring and evaluation of special education policies.  3.01, 3.01(5)(a), 3.06


                The unit employs sufficient instructional and related services staff to identify, assess, plan for and provide appropriate services for all children who are suspected of having a disability.  3.01(1)(b)


                Each special education teacher will serve, at a minimum, a majority of special education students with the same identified area of need as that teacher's special education license or certification endorsement.  The endorsement level must be appropriate for the age being taught.


                The unit employs a full – time qualified director of special education. 3.01(1)(c)


                The unit develops and implements an approved special education comprehensive plan.  3.01(1)(d)


                The unit accurately completes and submits all special education student, staff, cost and revenue data on or before dates established by the Department.  3.01(1)(e)


                The unit is governed by a board of directors comprised of the members of the local school boards served. 3.01(1)(f)


                The unit provides administrative support for compliance with special education regulations.  1.00(1)


    The Unit employs qualified personnel in accordance with the provisions of Section 3.04 of these Rules.


    Personnel Qualifications  3.04


    All personnel providing special education services to children with disabilities shall be qualified.


    Personnel qualifications.  3.04(1)


    Teachers  3.04(1)

    Special education.  3.04(1)(a)(i)

    All special education teachers shall hold Colorado teacher's certificates or licenses with appropriate endorsements in special education.


    Each special education teacher will serve, at a minimum, a majority of special education students with the same identified area of need as that teacher's special education license or certification endorsement.  The endorsement level must be appropriate for the age being taught.


    Home-hospital.  3.04(1)(a)(ii)

    Home-hospital teachers for children with disabilities shall hold Colorado teacher's certificates or licenses.


    Specialty.  3.04(1)(a)(iii)

    Specialty teachers in music, art, adapted physical education, home economics, industrial arts and vocational education shall possess Colorado teacher's certificates or licenses with endorsements in the area of instruction.


    Related services personnel.  3.04(1)(b)

    All related services personnel providing services to children with disabilities shall hold Colorado special services licenses or certificates with appropriate endorsements.  For those areas for which Colorado special services licenses or certificates are not available, appropriate licenses from the state regulatory agency or professional organization registration are required. 


    Special education coordinators.  3.04(1)(c)

    Special education coordinators shall have at least a Bachelor's degree and certification and/or licensure in a relevant field.  Documentation of their expertise shall be submitted to the Department of Education.


    Administrators.  3.04(1)(d)

    Special education directors and assistant directors must possess a certificate or administrator's license with appropriate endorsement.


    Paraprofessionals.  3.04(1)(e)

    Each administrative unit or eligible facility will determine the qualifications and competencies required for paraprofessionals.  Administrative units and eligible facilities shall assure and document that they meet the requirements for supervision of non certificated personnel as mandated under Section 22-32-110(1)(ee), C.R.S.


    Educational Interpreters  3.04(1)(f)

    As of July 1, 2000, any person employed as an Educational Interpreter by an administrative unit or eligible facility on a full-time or part-time basis shall meet the following minimum standards, and documentation for meeting these standards must be renewed every five years:


    ·        Demonstration of a rating of 3.5 (average) or better in the four areas of the Educational Interpreter Performance   Assessment (EIPA).  3.04(1)(f)(i)

    ·        Documented content knowledge in these areas: child development, language development, curriculum, teaching and tutoring methods, deafness and the educational process for deaf children.  3.04(1)(f)(ii)

    ·        The Colorado Department of Education will provide guidelines for the implementation of these minimum standards.


    Temporary teacher eligibility (TTE).  3.04(2)

    If an administrative unit or eligible facility is unable to employ an individual who is appropriately certificated/licensed and endorsed, the director of special education may apply to the Department of Education for temporary teacher eligibility.  Approval shall be effective for five school years for TTEs issued through the 1998-99 school year, and beginning with 1999-2000, shall be effective for three school years.  Temporary Teacher Eligibility is nonrenewable and subject to the following conditions:


    ·        The individual shall possess a Colorado certificate, educator's license, or emergency authorization.  3.04(2)(a)

    ·        The director of special education shall certify that, after reasonable efforts to hire an acceptable, appropriately endorsed individual, none could be found.  Documentation of the search which was made to find an acceptable, appropriately endorsed individual shall be maintained by the administrative unit or eligible facility.  3.04(2)(b)

    ·        No later than 90 days after employment, the administrative unit ... shall provide to the Department of Education documentation of the individual's application to a program leading to endorsement in the area of request.  3.04(2)(c)

    ·  At least annually, the administrative unit ... shall secure evidence of satisfactory progress toward completion of the endorsement program within the specified time allowed.  3.04(2)(d)