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BOCES as a public education partner

In 1910, the New York State Legislature established supervisory districts to expand oversight by the Commissioner of Education. Today, 37 supervisory districts each house a BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services), authorized to establish shared educational services among the schools comprising the supervisory district.

The Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES was established in 1967, merging three previously separate supervisory districts in Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties.  The BOCES comprises 15 school districts and a 1,506-square-mile territory.

BOCES are unique regional organizations with flexibility to cost-effectively provide a variety of educational and administrative services.

Those services are designed as an extension of the local district and are regulated by the Commissioner. Prior to providing a service, the BOCES must receive the approval of the Commissioner by submitting a proposed programmatic and financial operating plan for the service, known as a COSER (Cooperative Service Request).

With the exception of administrative costs and capital rental charges, all services are subject to annual decisions of the component districts. Each year, every local school board has the option to maintain, increase, decrease or withdraw from any service. The total budget equals the sum of individual contracts between the BOCES and component school districts, plus grants and state/federal projects.

Each district’s share of the Administrative and Capital budgets is based upon the proportion that its students represent of all students in the three-county region, based upon the state’s calculation of Resident Weighted Average Daily Attendance (RWADA).  The scope of other services purchased by a district does not influence these proportions.

Component districts are eligible to receive BOCES aid on most administrative, capital and program expenditures, subject to certain restrictions. BOCES aid is based upon the prior year’s approved expenditures, while facilities and rental aid is based on current-year expenditures. BOCES aid is wealth-equalized; thus poor districts receive more aid than wealthier districts.