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Broome-Tioga BOCES Plays Large Role in Creating Tech Opportunities for Schools

Broome-Tioga BOCES is one of 37 BOCES across New York State that provides shared services. One of those is technology-related.
Broome-Tioga BOCES is one of 37 BOCES across New York State that provides shared services. One of those is technology-related.

Broome-Tioga BOCES is a regional information center that supports 50 school districts. Part of that support includes everything from WiFi to servers to computers to the other aspects of infrastructure that it takes to offer the latest technology in classrooms.

"The software systems are here, the file systems are stored here. We also have equipment out in the districts. We have broadband connections out to all of the school districts, gigabite ether connections connecting all of the school buildings across the region,” said director Dan Myers. “It's sort of a giant corporate network that we support, upwards of 40,000 computers."

New York State offers significant financial state aid incentives to districts that share services. For instance, when they share technology services, the state rewards districts with 60 to 80 percent on the dollar that they spend.

"The idea is certain things that can be shared without eliminating the uniqueness of a school district to meet their needs, we do that. There are efficencies in that obviously,” said Myers.

Some of those include getting volume discounts on software licenses and sharing support staff and tech experts.

"We're constantly upgrading and managing all of those wifi access points and controls and all the things that make it usable. Again, people have an expectation that they're going to be able to connect and they want it to be easy and fast."

One of the districts that BOCES works with is Windsor, which is piloting a program where it provides iPads to certain students.

A key to providing infrastructure support is that the information isn't impacted through cyber attacks and any other potential problems.

"We have a collaborative arrangement with Binghamton University and our disaster recovery equipment for our data center is housed in their data center and it's a reciprocal shared agreement,” said Myers. “No money changes hands, but we are also theirs."
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