(1) The role and mission of the educational service units is to serve as educational service providers in the state's system of elementary and secondary education.
(2) Educational service units shall:
(a) Act primarily as service agencies in providing core services and services identified and requested by member school districts;
(b) Provide for economy, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness in the cooperative delivery of educational services;
(c) Provide educational services through leadership, research, and development in elementary and secondary education;
(d) Act in a cooperative and supportive role with the State Department of Education and school districts in development and implementation of long-range plans, strategies, and goals for the enhancement of educational opportunities in elementary and secondary education; and
(e) Serve, when appropriate and as funds become available, as a repository, clearinghouse, and administrator of federal, state, and private funds on behalf of school districts which choose to participate in special programs, projects, or grants in order to enhance the quality of education in Nebraska schools.
(3) Core services shall be provided by educational service units to all member school districts. Core services shall be defined by each educational service unit as follows:
(a) Core services shall be within the following service areas in order of priority: (i) Staff development which shall include access to staff development related to improving the achievement of students in poverty and students with diverse backgrounds; (ii) technology, including distance education services; and (iii) instructional materials services;
(b) Core services shall improve teaching and student learning by focusing on enhancing school improvement efforts, meeting statewide requirements, and achieving statewide goals in the state's system of elementary and secondary education;
(c) Core services shall provide schools with access to services that:
(i) The educational service unit and its member school districts have identified as necessary services;
(ii) Are difficult, if not impossible, for most individual school districts to effectively and efficiently provide with their own personnel and financial resources;
(iii) Can be efficiently provided by each educational service unit to its member school districts; and
(iv) Can be adequately funded to ensure that the service is provided equitably to the state's public school districts;
(d) Core services shall be designed so that the effectiveness and efficiency of the service can be evaluated on a statewide basis; and
(e) Core services shall be provided by the educational service unit in a manner that minimizes the costs of administration or service delivery to member school districts.
(4) Educational service units shall meet minimum accreditation standards set by the State Board of Education that will:
(a) Provide for accountability to taxpayers;
(b) Assure that educational service units are assisting and cooperating with school districts to provide for equitable and adequate educational opportunities statewide; and
(c) Assure a level of quality in educational programs and services provided to school districts by the educational service units.
(5) Educational service units may contract to provide services to:
(a) Nonmember public school districts;
(b) Nonpublic school systems;
(c) Other educational service units; and
(d) Other public agencies, under the Interlocal Cooperation Act and the Joint Public Agency Act.
(6) Educational service units shall not regulate school districts unless specifically provided pursuant to another section of law.
(7) The board of any educational service unit in this state may pay from its funds an amount to be determined by the board for membership dues in associations of school boards or boards of education.