Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) were created by the State Legislature in 1948. Currently there are 37 Supervisory Districts in New York State, each of which has a Board of Cooperative Educational Services. Component school districts participate in a wide range of shared services that individual school districts may not be able to operate as effectively or economically themselves. These services include Career and Technical Education, Special Education for Students with Disabilities, Itinerant Services, General Instruction, Instructional Support and Other Services. School Districts receive BOCES Aid in addition to local state aid as an incentive to share the cost of approved programs and services.
The origins of the Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES began during the summer and early fall of 1948. The Supervisory District of Franklin County under District Superintendent of Schools, John F. Byrnes, officially organized a Board of Cooperative Educational Services that was chartered on July 29, 1948. This was one of the first three BOCES formed as a result of the legislation enacted in March of 1948 (three BOCES were chartered simultaneously on that date).
In 1962 Maurice J. Finnegan became District Superintendent for Franklin County upon the retirement of District Superintendent Byrnes. In November of 1966 Lake Placid Central and three Wilmington Districts were added to the Supervisory District thus creating the Franklin-Essex BOCES. Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake joined BOCES in October of 1968 and shared services commenced for schools in the Tri-Lakes area.
Upon the retirement of Maurice Finnegan, effective January 31, 1971, Robert R. Whitman was appointed District Superintendent of Schools. On July 1, 1971, Long Lake Central School and Raquette Lake Union Free School in Hamilton County were added to the Supervisory District and the Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES took on its present boundaries.
Following the retirement of Robert R. Whitman on September 1, 1986, David J. DeSantis, who was first employed by the BOCES in September 1965 as a Special Education Teacher followed by appointments as Coordinator of Special Services, Administrative Assistant and Assistant Superintendent, was appointed District Superintendent on January 15, 1987. After completing 42 years of service in education, David J. DeSantis retired effective June 30, 2007.
Stephen T. Shafer assumed the duties of District Superintendent on November 26, 2007. Cheryl A. Felt is Deputy Superintendent.
There are ten (10) component school districts in the Franklin-Essex-Hamilton Sole Supervisory District as follows: Brushton-Moira Central School, Chateaugay Central School, Lake Placid Central School, Long Lake Central School, Malone Central School, Raquette Lake Union Free School, St. Regis Falls Central School, Salmon River Central School, Saranac Lake Central School and Tupper Lake Central School.
The Board of Cooperative Educational Services is composed of nine board members representing component school districts. Dennis Egan from Brushton-Moira is President and Thomas O'Bryan from St. Regis Falls is Vice-President. Others currently serving as members are: John Swanston from Chateaugay; Richard Preston from Lake Placid; Elizabeth Forsell from Raquette Lake; Donna Kissane from Malone; Donald Whitmore, III from Tupper Lake; Jason Brockway from Salmon River and Richard Retrosi from Saranac Lake.