History of SCKSEC
In May 1968, the organization E.S.E.A (Elementary-Secondary Educational Act) Title III Project known by the acronym of Project BEST (Better Educational Services Today) began serving twenty-three Unified School Districts in eleven counties.
During the three years of Project BEST's existence, the staff assisted the schools in the area of identifying the needs of exceptional children. They provided psychological evaluations, speech, vision and hearing screenings, perceptual evaluations and inservice training. A library of materials and equipment designed to help teachers and parents work with exceptional children was established.
When federal funding ceased in 1971, four of the original eleven counties joined together to form the South Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative. At a meeting held February 16, 1971, a resolution was passed stating that the unified school districts in Pratt, Barber, Harper and Kingman counties would join together to form a special education cooperative and all equipment, materials, supplies and furnishings under control of Project BEST be turned over to the cooperative. It was also resolved that the services of the IMC and film library be made available at a fair cost to any school district currently participating in Project BEST. Meetings were held to form the by-laws and adopt a constitution.
A Board of Directors, consisting of the superintendent and a board of education member from each district was formed. Officers for the Board, which included a chairman, vice-chairman and secretary were elected on June 9, 1971, and the SCKSEC was officially in operation on July 1, 1971. Fifteen classes for exceptional children were established the first year. These classes were located at Pratt, Kingman, Anthony, Medicine Lodge and Attica. Other services the first year included: the services of two school psychologists, six speech therapists, and an IMC which included a library of instructional materials and a 16mm film library. Staff totaled forty-four and included the Director S.C. (Buck) Winingham, who had been with the organization since the onset of Project BEST, one administrative assistant Ray Martin, one Instructional Materials Specialist, three school psychologists, six speech therapists, one Learning Disabilities Coordinator, three Learning Disabilities Strategists, fourteen classroom instructors, one instructor for the visually impaired, one aide for the multiple handicapped, one aide for the learning disabled, three full-time and two part-time teacher's aides, one bookkeeper, two IMC aides, three part-time secretaries serving the psychologists and itinerants, and one part-time custodian. In its history, SCKSEC has grown from a staff of forty-four to a staff exceeding four hundred, from serving one hundred-twenty students to serving fourteen hundred students, and from providing services for four counties to serving seven counties with fifteen school districts.