BOCES History

  • On May 23, 1966, the school board presidents of the fourteen school districts in the San Luis Valley met and established the first BOCES in Colorado. Today, there are 21 BOCES in Colorado with several established as Special Purpose BOCES providing limited programs or a single service. Most of the BOCES in Colorado are general purpose in nature and provide a broad range of services and programs.


  • BOCES is an acronym made up of the individual letters of the longer title—Board of Cooperative (Educational) Services. It is pronounced BO-Sees for a more simple and concise term. The statutory name of BOCES is Board of Cooperative Services, as set forth by Title 22, Article 5, C.R.S., Boards of Cooperative Services Act of 1965.


  • 45 states have established what are commonly known as Educational Service Agencies (ESA’s) or Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESA’s). In many states these agencies function at a regional level between the State Educational Agency and the local school district. It may serve as an extension of the State Educational Agency or it may operate as an independent agency from either state or local control. Still in other states, the RESA or ESA have specific duties and tasks assigned by the State. They are governed by an elected board, which has the authority to levy a tax, receive direct financial support and provide mandated services to local school districts.


  • BOCES exist to supply educational services to two or more school districts that alone cannot afford the service, or find it advantageous and cost-effective to cooperate with other districts. These services represent a financial commitment that is best met by several districts sharing costs and programs. In some instances, BOCES also operate as Special Education Administrative Units, in which Colorado Revised Statutes require a minimum number of students or participants in order to qualify.


  • BOCES is governed by a Board of Directors. Each legal member of the BOCES appoints one of its board members to serve on the BOCES Board. An alternate is usually appointed as well. Additionally any post secondary member of the BOCES may have its governing board appoint its assigned member of the BOCES Board. The Board is required by law to meet at least four times a year.  The Board of Directors appoints an Executive Director who serves as the person responsible for the administering the affairs of the BOCES. It is important to note that since the BOCES serves its member school districts, there is a need for communication and information among the members. Each BOCES has an Advisory Council composed of the Superintendent or his/her designee. This group advises the Executive Director and Board, and assists in planning and implementing the programs and services that will be made available to the member districts. The Advisory Council usually meets monthly and provides critical input into the BOCES operations and its direction.