In 1963 the State legislature concluded that the county superintendent system should be replaced with regional service agencies. That year, 19 cooperative educational service agencies, or CESAs were created. They began operating in 1965. In 1984, the agencies were reorganized and the number reduced to 12, the current number.
Purpose (Watch our Video)
Section 116.01, Wisconsin Statutes, reads: “The cooperative educational service agencies are designed to serve educational needs in all areas of Wisconsin by serving as a link both between school districts and between school districts and the state. Cooperative educational service agencies may provide leadership, coordination and education services to school districts, University of Wisconsin System institutions and technical colleges. Cooperative educational service agencies may facilitate communication and cooperation among all public and private schools, agencies and organizations that provide services to pupils.”
What we do (Download our Brochure)
What we do is very simple. We make it possible for schools, regardless of size, to work together to share staff and equipment, save money, and extend educational opportunity. CESA 12 serves the special and unique needs of schools and children in Northwest Wisconsin. We do so without mandates, without levying taxes, and with virtually no direct state appropriations.
If a school cannot afford to hire a full-time teacher for a hearing-impaired student, it shares a CESA teacher with other schools in the area, paying only for the teacher time it needs. If a school district is too small to obtain volume discounts to purchase paper, supplies or computers- and, in some cases, even natural gas and employee insurance- it bands together with other area districts to buy through the CESA. If a student cannot take Calculus or Advanced Placement (AP) History at her own high school, she can take the course at another high school via a CESA-supported distance-learning network.
Wisconsinites want and expect much from their schools. They want local control, equal access and value for their tax dollar. They want schools to cooperate and constantly strive for improvement. They want graduates to be well-trained, ready to contribute to the future prosperity of this special state. This is a lot to ask. Without CESAs, these goals would be difficult to attain.