VOTE: Cooperative Education Services (H.630) - May 8, 2024

The bill, H.630, allowing for a new layer in the education delivery system called ‘boards of cooperative education services’ (BOCES) reached the Senate Floor on Wednesday. Senator Gulick presented the bill on behalf of the Education Committee. Senator Baruth spoke on behalf of the Appropriations Committee, focusing on the $1M expenditure from Education Fund for the Community Schools program. Senator Campion added that Molly Stark School in Bennington is a Community School. He described the wrap around service model they employ and approves of this as an expenditure from the Education Fund.

Senator Hardy noted that she grew up in central New York and BOCES are very common there.

Senator Weeks reminded Senators that they “should recognize the education system in Vermont is not on stable ground… we have a property tax issue, a lack of unifying vision for Vermont’s educational system… While BOCES is a great concept, Vermont already has the number 1 ratio of administrators to students, and that ratio costs us money… the timing is not right to inject a new layer of bureaucracy into our state’s education system before we analyze and report back the statewide inefficiencies.”

Gulick responded that BOCES requires a few positions and likely will not overlap with what is already in place and will be efficient (bulk ordering, etc.). Senator Hashim added that existing mechanisms are very difficult and inefficient.

Ingalls agreed with Weeks’ points, saying that new programs are not timely.

The bill passed on a voice vote.

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