In general, collaboratives offer special education services that would be difficult to provide locally. Many collaboratives also offer vocational education programs and professional development programs. In some cases collaboratives are also used by member systems to achieve economies of scale on bids for services such as transportation, food service supplies or paper goods.
Educational Collaboratives are formed through an agreement among two or more school committees to provide educational programs or services for their member school systems. Collaboratives in Massachusetts are approved by the Commissioner of Education under the provisions of Chapter 40, Section 4E of the Massachusetts General Laws.
South Coast Educational Collaborative was established in 1974 (as Cooperative Production Collaborative) with its original member school districts of Berkley, Dighton, Dighton-Rehoboth Regional, Seekonk and Swansea. South Coast Educational Collaborative began with one program, providing educational services to a low-incidence, previously unserved special needs population. In 1984, the Somerset School District was welcomed as a new member, followed by Freetown-Lakeville Regional Schools in 2007 and Taunton Public Schools in 2014.