Today's OD presents all the positive aspects of the BOCES expansion project, but fails to ask the question that all taxpayers should be asking:
Why is our local BOCES growing when the county has lost more than a quarter of its population since the facility was built?
The answer is not that hard to figure out, but it is one you are unlikely to see in print. It is important to remember that under Education Law §1950, the members of the BOCES board are chosen by the school boards of BOCES' component school districts, and that BOCES offers services requested by two or more component districts.
BOCES is growing because (1) it was made to be a place where the local component school districts could rid themselves of their more-difficult-to-teach students and (2) too many students feel they are learning nothing in the regular classroom.
BOCES is growing for the same reason that special education is growing . . . which is the same reason why the No Child Left Behind law was created: our regular schools have become ineffective. Expanding BOCES only enables more of the same and is unfair to both students and taxpayers alike. Instead, we must insist that our schools do what really works -- what we are already paying them to do. City Journal has an interesting article about a successful NCLB funded reform that gives some insight into what is going on in our schools today.
There are still a number of other questions about the BOCES expansion to which answers are still needed. Hopefully the public gets to read some answers before Tuesday's vote.