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History of RCEC

The Reno Regional Educational Service Coop was originally formed January 18, 1973 by the five rural Reno County school districts. The original Coop was hosted by the Haven school district and operated by the superintendents. The original application to the State included the formation of 11 special education classrooms, 3 speech language pathologists, 3 school psychologists, a hearing specialist, clerk, and director. The organization’s name was changed in November 1973 to the Reno Regional Education Service Organization (RRESO). The first director was hired in 1974.

In 1975, the federal government passed the Education for all Handicapped Children Act commonly referred to as PL 94-142 which mandated equal access to education for children with disabilities. To ensure compliance with this legislation, the six Reno County school districts partnered to ensure access to a continuum of special education services for students through the formation of an interlocal recognized by the State of Kansas.

The Reno County Education Cooperative Interlocal #610 (RCEC) was established July 1, 1977. Hutchinson USD 308 was the largest member district and was a member of the RCEC for 3 years. Since the 1980-1981 school year, the RCEC has been providing special education services to the school districts of Nickerson/South Hutchinson USD 309, Fairfield USD 310, Pretty Prairie USD 311, Haven USD 312 and Buhler USD 313.

The original office was located at south Halstead and Highway 50 from 1973 to 1993. This building was the site of the former Ijams School for Haven USD 312. A new office building was built on land donated by Buhler USD 313 and RCEC staff moved into the current building in Hutchinson in May 1993.

The RCEC has grown considerably since founded and employs approximately 100 licensed staff and 170 classified staff serving children from birth through 21 years of age. Annually, the RCEC serves approximately 800 students with exceptionalities from age 3 to 21 years. The number of infants and toddlers receiving special services continues to grow and is around 200.

Special education services are provided in all schools located in the member districts. Additional county-wide classrooms are provided for students in need of more specialized services. Partnerships with Hutchinson USD 308 and the McPherson Special Education Cooperative allow the districts to meet the needs of students needing a special day school. The RCEC also collaborates with Hutchinson USD 308 for services for children birth through 5 years of age through the non-profit Early Education Center, Inc.

Our Location

Our Communities


The community of Hutchinson, Kansas, population approximately 41,085, is located in South Central Kansas where you will enjoy a variety of seasons. A wide array of seasonal sports and recreation is available year round including camping, hiking, golfing on a world renowned golf course- Prairie Dunes, biking, hunting, water skiing, and fishing. For the sports enthusiast, our Hutchinson Sports Arena is home to the National Junior College Athletic Association Men's Basketball Championship Tournament held in March. And don't forget September…FAIR TIME! The annual Kansas State Fair begins the Friday following Labor Day and proceeds for 10 days at the Kansas State Fairgrounds!

Located in the center of the nation, Hutchinson is near several major metropolitan areas and air travel from Wichita, which is home to the largest airport in Kansas, Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, is 45 minutes away. The internationally famed Cosmosphere and Space Center Museum (www.cosmo.org) is located adjacent to Hutchinson Community College(www.hutchcc.edu). The recently opened Kansas Underground Salt Museum, Strataca, is a must see for visitors to the Hutchinson area. Hutchinson supports the arts through a variety of avenues, including the Hutchinson Symphony, Flag Theater, Community Theater, and Children’s Theater. Points of interest for visitors and residents alike include the Dillon Nature Center, and the Carey Park and Zoo. Additional information about Hutchinson can be viewed on Hutchinson’s home page at www.hutchgov.com


One visit to Arlington, Kansas in Reno County will be forever etched into your memory. Settlers originally chose Arlington for the cheap land and later, in 1887, the Rock Island Railroad left its imprint on the town. Framed by old brick buildings dating back to the early 1900s, Arlington Main Street provides a glimpse of the past. Modern images reveal a cabinet shop, restaurants, consignment/antique shops, beauty salons, an insurance agency, a convenience store, a bank and three churches. The repurposed Arlington Grade School now is used as city offices, a wellness center, the city library and a consignment shop.

If you take a closer look, you will see the resilient and resourceful residents who have come together to bring innovative visions to the city of Arlington. The town’s beauty is noticed not only in the cheerful residents but also in the lush, wooded landscape and the swirling waters of the Ninnescah River. The beautiful cemetery on the hill fading into the horizon captures the peaceful essence of Arlington. With an array or activities such as the annual flea market and craft show and its close proximity to both Hutchinson and Wichita, Arlington, Kansas has a small town charm with big town perks! If you want a safe, clean place to raise your children or you are ready for a new business venture, your picture-perfect ending is Arlington, Kansas!


Buhler is located in south central Kansas about 12 miles northeast of Hutchinson. The Buhler community is home to an outstanding 4A school system with three elementary schools spread throughout the district, one middle school, and one high school. The City’s recreation program offers a variety of activities for people of all ages, and the City’s wellness center provides opportunities for year-round fitness. A vibrant downtown provides extraordinary shopping, delicious restaurant choices, a wide array of professional services, and innovative businesses. The City truly reflects its motto: Traditional Values, Progressive Ideas. Welcome to Buhler!


Haven is conveniently located on the four-lane K-96 expressway in south central Kansas, with thriving downtown, excellent schools and many recreation facilities. Only minutes from Hutchinson, families continue to locate to this pleasant rural community as a place to raise their family.

Haven’s downtown has all the essential services of a viable, growing community, including a grocery store, full-service bank, credit union, two car dealerships, a hardware store, two antique stores, a café, emergency medical services, six churches and much more. City recreation facilities include parks, ball diamonds, tennis courts, a swimming pool and various youth programs such as scouting, FFA and 4-H.


Nickerson was established in Reno County in 1899, with a current population around 1,100. Businesses include the Chamber of Commerce, EMS, Library, Recreation Commission, Post Office, Senior Center and a County Fire Department.

Nickerson has a beautiful city park that offers a quiet area for family reunions, picnicking, or a place to take you children to play and a ball field across the street. For a small town, Nickerson boasts several amenities such as a place to shop, dine and area churches that enhance the quality of life in this community.

Klear Nearly Days and the Snowflake Festival & Parade are both great events for families to come out and enjoy.

Pretty Prairie

It may be the rodeo that brings you to Pretty Prairie for the first time, but the friendly people and their unique brand of Western hospitality keep visitors coming back. You’ll love the fun- filled, family atmosphere of Kansas’ Largest Night Rodeo every July. Famous for its blend of entertainment and professional competition, the rodeo attracts over 250 top professional cowboys in the nation and 20,000 spectators annually.

The Links at Pretty Prairie is a challenging 9-hole, links-style golf course. The bluegrass fairways and bentgrass greens are fully irrigated and bordered with native tall grasses. Pretty Prairie, like most small towns, is busy with youth activities and ball games, scouting and church activities. At the hub of it all is the school, with an impressive pupil/teacher ratio of 10 to 1. For the more mature residents, there is Prairie Sunset Home, a beautiful retirement village and intermediate care facility.

South Hutchinson

South Hutchinson is located in Reno County, on Highways US 50, K-61, K-96 and K-17. The city boundaries are marked on north and east city limits by the Arkansas River. The river divides South Hutchinson from the city of Hutchinson.

Salt has been an important part of the town's history. At one time, 17 salt companies did business here, and Morton Salt still has a large plant here.

In 1887, the first salt in this area was discovered in South Hutchinson by the town's founder, Ben Blanchard. The salt industry is one of the most important businesses in South Hutchinson and Hutchinson. Don't forget the annual SALT FEST celebration, which is held on the second Saturday of June.