BOCES services are created when two or more school districts have similar needs that can be met through a shared program. Sharing is an economical way for districts to offer programs they otherwise might not be able to afford. These services must be approved by the commissioner of education according to need and practicality in a regional context. It will then be considered a Co-Ser (Cooperative Service) agreement.
Many BOCES programs are instructional and include, but are not limited to:
- career and technical programs for high school students
- services for students with disabilities
- literacy programs and employment training for adults
- regional summer school
- professional development
- instructional technology
The remaining programs are non-instructional support services that help school districts contain costs. Examples include:
- business office support, such as accounts payable, cooperative bidding and health insurance cooperatives
- bus maintenance and transportation services
- energy cooperatives
- labor relations
- school lunch coordination
- administrative technology solutions and support through regional information centers
- state networks (e.g., Staff and Curriculum Development Network or “S/CDN”)
Value of Services
Value to taxpayers
All BOCES collaborate with school districts to develop shared programs that serve students and promote equity among all districts regardless of enrollment, income or size of tax base. The BOCES network helps to relieve some of the financial burdens increasingly placed on local taxpayers.
School districts receive funds from the state, called BOCES aid, for the shared services purchased the previous year. The aid is distributed directly to the individual districts. The amount reimbursed to districts is based on a state-approved formula.
Quality education for all
For 70 years, the BOCES model has proven to be a cost-effective method to ensure compliance with state mandates and has supported local and regional innovation. It has been said, in light of today’s fiscal environment, that if BOCES did not exist, they would need to be invented.
BOCES by the Numbers
Educator for all ages and abilities
- 38,442 high school students developed college- and career-ready skills through career and technical education programs offered at local BOCES campuses.
- 10,476 adult students broadened their employment options by taking High School Equivalency (HSE) courses taught by BOCES.
- 3,741 students’ academic, social and emotional needs were met in BOCES alternative education programs.
Engine for economic growth
- 2,575 students advanced their learning through programs that approach high school education in a unique way. New Tech High School, Early College High School and P-TECH programs are closely linked with business and higher education.
- 1,364 students worked side-by-side with industry professionals in honors-level career courses through BOCES New Visions programs.
- 66 new CTE programs have been developed with business partners to respond to business and industry needs.
Facilitator of collaboration and efficiency
- 13,118 BOCES professional development sessions were provided to school districts to help improve instruction.
- 724 cooperative bids were organized by BOCES in one year.
- 377 school districts participated in a BOCES-initiated health benefits consortium.
[Data as of March 2020]