In 1977, all school districts and county school offices were mandated to form consortiums in geographical regions of sufficient size and scope to provide for all special education service needs of children residing within the region boundaries. Each region, Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA), developed a local plan describing how it would provide special education services.
SELPAs are dedicated to the belief that all students can learn and that special needs students must be guaranteed equal opportunity to become contributing members of society. SELPAs facilitate high quality educational programs and services for special needs students and training for parents and educators. The SELPA collaborates with county agencies and school districts to develop and maintain healthy and enriching environments in which special needs students and families can live and succeed.
The Southwest SELPA (https://www.swselpa.org/) services over 14,000 students in 12 School Districts, several Charter Schools and the Regionalized SELPA programs in various districts. Responsibilities of the SELPA include Ensuring Program Availability for all Children with Disabilities, Curriculum Development and Support, Community Advisory Committee Support, Transition Planning, Legal Assistance, Program Evaluation, Interagency Coordination, Program Coordination, Fiscal Management, Community Awareness, and Staff Development.