Sunday, February 11, 2007

Why is BOCES Growing?

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.


Anonymous said...

The Career & Technical Education side of BOCES is growing because students are interested in the programs that are offered. These students are able to receive their Regents diploma, gain a skill or trade and come out ahead of their average peer.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor the 20 fastest-growing careers will need some sort of technical training. This is one reason why BOCES continues to grow.

If there area questions people want answered, they should talk with BOCES officials - either call - or attend the meeting being held Monday night. Officials are more than happy to talk about and give information about this project.

Arkangel said...

STRIKESLIP: In reading a response to your 2/11/2007 article, "Why is BOCES Growing" the anonymous author response is short on FACTS and long on on-going rhetoric.

Perhaps, anonymous would like to state for the record statistics that back up his commentary. Using the U.S Bureau of Labor to validate Oneida County [technical training] needs is ludicrous. Is the author aware of the fact that Oneida County has had negative growth?

Interestingly, BOCES has been contacted for data, however, remains aloof in their on-going failure to provide meaningful data worthy of review and analysis.

BOCES simply cannot support the contention that more space is needed. Keeping the community in the dark is a favorite of any organization NOT wishing to tell the truth.

I dare BOCES to offer the data previously requested by the following author's blog: (

Contrary to what Anonymous said: "The Career & Technical Education side of BOCES is growing because students are interested in the programs that are offered." This is simply NOT true! Where are the figures to support such a ridiculous and meaningless statement?

RECOMMENDATION: Move BOCES programs back to the school districts from whence they came. Think of the monies taxpayers would SAVE!!!

People who author such ridiculous commentary appear to be those who are tied to BOCES personnel and their self-serving interests.

Keep up the good work Strikeslip as the taxpayers need honest, open and objective commentary vs. the inherent bias of many anonymous authors who have really nothing to add.

Mark said...

In what planet do you think returning BOCES services to the individual school districts will SAVE taxpayers money. Simple economics tell you it is cheaper to pool your resources and share services than to duplicate the same service in more than a dozen individual school districts. While far from perfect, BOCES is an example (and a successful one, if you look around the state) of the regionalization that this area seems to fear like the plague. BOCES has unquestionably saved local taxpayers millions and millions of dollars over the years.

Strikeslip said...

Mark - While simple economics does tell you that it is cheaper to pool resources and share services, I tell you that simple economics does not apply here because the people running our school districts don't want it to apply. The new BOCES project includes a gym, cafeteria, library, and classrooms for regular academic classes... Since that duplicates what is already available in the local school districts, that hardly qualifies as a savings.

If isolating our special education students at the Middle Settlement Gulag away from their home schools is "regionalization," then I want no part of it. (And it will not save money because the teachers are needed in state-prescribed ratios no matter where they are located).

If you are for regionalization that makes sense, you would push for BOCES and its component school districts to consolidate administrators . . . and lead to consolidation of the school districts themselves.

Why do I think you would not be in favor of that?