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.
The BOCES network is capable of including municipalities and divisions of the state with school districts in the provision of cost-effective services.
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.