In 1948, the New York State legislature created Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to provide shared educational programs and services to school districts within the state. Today there are 37 BOCES that are partnering with nearly all of the state’s school districts to help meet students’ evolving educational needs through cost-effective and relevant programs.
BOCES membership is not currently available to the “Big Five” city school districts: New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, and Syracuse.
A District Superintendent is the chief executive officer of an individual BOCES. The District Superintendent is responsible for both the BOCES and its component districts. A District Superintendent also serves as the commissioner of education’s representative to the region.
District Superintendents can provide:
Liaison Services – The District Superintendent facilitates communications between the New York State Education Department and local districts, as well as other public and private agencies.
Superintendent Searches – Upon request, the District Superintendent may assist component school districts in their selection process of a new school superintendent. The District Superintendent at the BOCES may serve as a consultant for recruitment, screening and evaluation of candidates.
Consultant Services – Drawing from various resources, the District Superintendent is available to consult with school districts on a variety of educational topics including:
- Board-administration relationships
- New York State Board of Regents Standards
- State education department commissioner’s regulation interpretations and clarifications
- Management and planning
- School boundaries
- Reorganization and mergers
Operating procedures related to new programs
Under Education Law section 1950, a BOCES may provide any educational service that is requested by two or more component districts and approved by the commissioner of education according to need and practicality in a regional context.
The BOCES then notifies component districts of the approved services, asking for a firm commitment to participate by May 1 of each year. The BOCES and the component districts then enter into formal contracts. Contracts between BOCES and component districts, when approved by the commissioner, are effective for one year. After which they may be renewed, changed or cancelled. Districts may also authorize multi-year service requests from BOCES.
BOCES by the Numbers
Educator for all ages and abilities
- 15,659 adult students improved their listening, speaking and literacy skills through English as a second language courses taught by BOCES teachers.
- 1,240 students worked side-by-side with industry professionals in honors-level career courses through BOCES New Visions programs.
- 16,751 students’ individual needs were supported in special education classrooms operated by BOCES.
Engine for economic growth
- 5,875 businesses provided workplace experiences for students in BOCES programs.
- 4,827 businesses were on advisory councils and consultant committees for BOCES CTE programs.
- 2,187 partnerships between BOCES and colleges and universities.
Facilitator of collaboration and efficiency
- 340 school districts currently participate in a BOCES-initiated health benefits consortium.
- $3.5 million was the total savings to school districts participating in BOCES energy cooperatives when compared to retail pricing in one year.
- 174 school districts shared central business office staff or functions via BOCES.
[Data as of December 2017]