The Bi-County Special Education Cooperative commenced operations on July 1, 1969. The purpose of the Cooperative was to provide special education services to member school districts in keeping with Section 14.7 of the Illinois School Code. This section of the school code makes it mandatory for all school districts to provide fourteen (14) different kinds of special education services to students in need of such services. The Bi-County Special Education Cooperative was the vehicle selected by member districts to meet the law mandating such services for students. Some idea of the rapid growth of the Cooperative can be gleaned from the Director’s yearly reports to member school districts. These reports show that Bi-County had 35 staff members at the end of the 1969-1970 school year (the first year of operation), 56 staff members in 1970-71, 61 for the school year 1971-72, and 91 staff members on board by the end of the 1976-1977 school year. This rapid growth was made possible through increased financial support by both the state and local education agencies.
During the 1976-77 school year a committee was formed for the purpose of reviewing organizational structure and delivery of service patterns within the cooperative and its member districts. Two major recommendations were made by the committee and adopted by the Executive Board. The first change was reconstruction of the Executive Board to be composed of the superintendents of the member school districts or their designees. The second recommendation was to have the local school districts administer the high incidence programs which include the classes for the mildly intellectually disabled, specific learning disabled, and speech and language disabled. Bi-County Special Education Cooperative has responsibility for the low incidence special education programs which include administrative expertise, school psychology, school social worker, work study, intellectually disabled, preschool , vision, and hearing supports. The purpose of this change was to make the programs more in tune with the needs of local school districts.