A Brief History of DCMO

The Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) are public organizations created by the New York State Legislature in 1948 as a way for local school districts to collaborate on educational offerings while reducing their individual expenses.  The first BOCES established in the Chenango County area was created in June 1955.  In January 1957, the first BOCES in Delaware County was authorized.  Over time, smaller BOCES merged into larger units that crossed county lines.  By the late 1960’s, there were two BOCES in the region – Chenango-Madison-Otsego and Delaware-Chenango-Otsego.

In 1967, legislation was passed allowing BOCES to own property. Both Chenango-Madison-Otsego and Delaware-Chenango-Otsego passed referendums to construct occupational and special education centers.

In 1969, Chenango-Madison-Otsego District Superintendent Earnest Youmans retired, leading to the merger of the two BOCES into the Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego (DCMO) BOCES we know today.  Delaware-Chenango-Otsego District Superintendent Eugene Wieand became the first DCMO District Superintendent.  

DCMO encompassed eighteen component districts: Afton, Bainbridge-Guilford, Delhi, Downsville, Franklin, Georgetown-South Otselic, Gilbertsville, Greene, Hancock, Mt. Upton, New Berlin, Norwich, Oxford, Sherburne-Earlville, Sidney, South New Berlin, Unatego, and Walton.  Gilbertsville and Mt. Upton have subsequently merged to become GMU, and New Berlin and South New Berlin have merged into Unadilla Valley.  Georgetown-South Otselic is now known as Otselic Valley.

Construction on the education centers - the Western Delaware Area Education Center, located outside of Masonville and the Chenango Area Education Center in North Norwich - continued after the merger and was completed in the spring 1972.  The campuses today are known as the Robert Harrold Campus (Masonville) and the Alan Pole Campus (North Norwich), in honor of two esteemed administrators who worked for DCMO.  (For more information about Mr. Harrold and Mr. Pole, please see our Facilities page.)

In 1972, following the opening of the two new campuses Mr. Wieand retired as District Superintendent.  Dr. Freeman Van Wickler was selected and assumed the role on October 5, 1972, and served DCMO in this capacity until 1990.

In 1982, the A Building of the Western Delaware Area Education Center was dedicated as the Dr. Walter E. Eells Building, in honor of Dr. Eells’s 23 years of service.

In 1986, the Board reduced its size from thirteen members to seven.  Also that year, the addition of a gym and special education classrooms was approved, with construction beginning the following spring.

On July 16, 1990, Mr. Alan Pole was appointed as the third District Superintendent for DCMO, a role he would serve in until August, 2008.

On June 25, 1992, the DCMO Board of Education dedicated the Western Delaware Area Education Center to retiring Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Robert Harrold, renaming it the Robert W. Harrold Campus.

DCMO began construction on a new Support Services Center building in the spring of 1993.  This building would home to house administrative and business offices as well as non-instructional services provided to component districts.  The building opened in October of that year.

In December 2005, voters in DCMO’s component districts approved a $48 million referendum to renovate and expand the instructional buildings at both the Harrold and Chenango campuses.  Groundbreaking on the projects occurred in June 2007 and the projects were completed in the spring 2009.

DCMO appointed its fourth District Superintendent, William Tammaro, in January 2009.  Mr. Tammaro led DCMO until 2016, when he was succeeded by Perry Dewey.  

In June 2021, the Board of Education dedicated the Chenango Area Education Center in honor of retired District Superintendent Pole.  The campus in North Norwich is now called the Alan D. Pole Campus.

Mr. Dewey retired as DCMO’s fifth District Superintendent in June 2022.  On February 13, 2023, Mr. Michael Rullo was appointed as the sixth District Superintendent for Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego BOCES.

Based in Section 1950 of Education Law, BOCES were meant to be a temporary arrangement to expand equal educational opportunity in small, rural school districts where services otherwise would be uneconomical, inefficient or unavailable. But the new model caught on not only in the DCMO region, but across New York State, and has greatly expanded in scope and impact over the years.

Today, DCMO offers 67 programs and services to support students and districts in our 1,825 square mile region, including 24 academic programs, 10 summer and enrichment opportunities, and 33 business and management services.  DCMO employs over 450 individuals – teachers, teaching assistants, aides, clerical and office staff, custodial and maintenance workers, graphic designers, communications specialists, supervisors, managers, and administrators.  DCMO’s annual budget exceeds $50M.

Statewide, there are 37 BOCES in New York State, which are incubators of innovation, continually developing new programs and services to meet the changing needs of students.  For more information about the history of BOCES in New York State, please see The BOCES of New York State’s BOCES: A History.