(1) Boundary lines of cooperatives established for the provision of special education services are defined by the Superintendent of Public Instruction based on consultation with regional representatives.
(a) No more than 23 special education cooperatives may be established.
(b) All districts are included within the boundaries of a special education cooperative but are not required to be a participating member of that cooperative.
(c) The special education cooperative boundaries shall be established so that the districts included within the boundaries are contiguous.
(d) A district may become a member only of the cooperative within which boundaries it lies.
(2) The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall maintain an official Montana school district data file with districts identified within the cooperative boundary consistent with the requirements of 20-7-457 , MCA.
(3) Districts or cooperatives requesting a change to the boundary lines must provide a written request to the Superintendent to change the boundary lines. The written request must clearly describe the proposed boundary line and the reasons for the requested change.
(4) The request for change must be provided to the Superintendent of Public Instruction no later than October 1 to be in effect for the ensuing fiscal year.
(5) Prior to making the change, the Superintendent will notify and request comment from all districts within the boundaries of each affected cooperative.
(6) The Superintendent must approve any boundary changes prior to January 1 in order to be in effect for the ensuing fiscal year.
(7) All changes must comply with the conditions in (1).
(8) Boundary changes for districts already participating in a cooperative must occur on timelines consistent with the district's commitment for participation in the cooperative as specified in the interlocal agreement, unless the changes:
(a) result in the creation of a new cooperative;
(b) result in the merging of existing cooperatives; or
(c) are approved by a majority of the trustees in each school district directly affected and approved by the majority of the management board of each affected cooperative.