What is a BOCES?

BOCES: An Educational Partnership

campus signThe concept of BOCES, or Board of Cooperative Educational Services, was created by the New York State Legislature in 1948 to provide shared educational and support services to local school districts in a cost-effective manner. There are currently 37 BOCES in New York State, each serving its own set of school districts.

Madison-Oneida BOCES was created in 1968 by joining two neighboring BOCES. Since then, Madison-Oneida BOCES has remained committed to the original intent of the law establishing BOCES: to provide cost-effective, educationally-focused programs that allow school districts to conserve resources while expanding opportunities for students.

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 by providing opportunities to pool resources and share costs. This economical approach allows districts to provide students with high-quality programs and services schools might not otherwise be able to afford.

As each district's or BOCES' governing body, local boards of education are responsible for deciding which BOCES services are needed. However, BOCES employees work closely with school administrators and staff members to develop, deliver and refine services.

A cornerstone of the BOCES operations is flexibility. Madison-Oneida BOCES is simply a reflection of the current needs of its districts. Programs and services are designed in collaboration with participants, and the lifespan of a BOCES service is only as long as participating districts' needs exist.