What is BOCES?

Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES)

BOCES is a public organization that was created by the New York State Legislature in 1948 to provide shared educational programs and services to school districts.  

How does BOCES work?
BOCES services are created when two or more school districts decide they have similar needs that can be met by a shared program. BOCES helps school districts save money by providing opportunities to pool resources and share costs.  

Sharing is a very economical way for districts to provide programs and services that they might not be able to afford otherwise. It is more efficient and less costly to operate one central service than it is to have separate programs in each school district. However, BOCES services are often customized, offering districts the flexibility to meet their individual needs.

Who makes the decision about which BOCES services to purchase? 
Each year, local school districts review their district's needs and make decisions about BOCES services. Because district needs change every year, decisions about BOCES services may also change every year.  

The decision to participate in BOCES services is based on the unique needs of each district. If the district doesn't need a BOCES service, it doesn't request it and does not have to pay for it. 

Why do school districts participate in BOCES services?  
Because BOCES services are shared by two or more school districts, they cost much less than if districts provided the services on their own. Districts pool their resources, and share the savings.

In addition, New York State gives a financial incentive to participate in shared services, by offering BOCES state aid for BOCES services. Here is how BOCES state aid works:  

  • Each district's Board of Education selects BOCES services for the current year.  
  • The following school year, a portion of the cost of BOCES services is returned to the district by the state of New York.
  • The amount returned to the district is based on a formula that takes into account the district's financial resources.  
  • Money returned to the district is used as revenue. 
  • How are BOCES services paid for?

Except for an administrative charge that is based on each school district's size, districts pay only for BOCES services they use. BOCES expenses are incorporated into each district's annual budget. State aid helps to offset some of the expenses, while others are directly funded by the state or federal government. BOCES has no taxing authority. 

How is BOCES governed?  
BOCES is governed just as local districts are governed - by a Board of Education that is made up of representatives from component school districts. Board members are responsible for curricular, financial, and other policy decisions, just as they are at the local level.

What kinds of programs does BOCES offer?  
Every BOCES is a little different, depending on the needs of the local school districts. Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES services fall within three major categories:

  • Instructional Programs
    • Career and Technical Education
    • Education for Exceptional Children
    • Center for Workforce Development
    • Regional Summer School 
    • Westside Jr. /Sr. Academy    
  • Instructional Support
    • Communication and Technology Services (CaTS)
    • Elementary Science Program
    • Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development    
  • Offices for Finance, Human Resources, and Labor Relations