Orleans-Niagara BOCES grows, local school districts shrink

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 April 2015 at 12:00 am

Dr. Clark Godshall

MEDINA – The 13 school districts in the Orleans-Niagara BOCES have shrunk from about 44,000 students eight years ago to 36,000 today, a result of a low birth rates locally and an out migration of residents, Dr. Clark Godshall, BOCES superintendent, told the Medina Board of Education on Tuesday.

However, the BOCES program has grown during that time from 1,400 students to 1,600 currently.

BOCES has career and technical centers in Medina and Sanborn with a 99 percent graduation rate, Godshall said.

“We have a 100 percent job placement in some of our programs,” he said. “You have a set of skills in your back pocket.”

BOCES continues to assess its programs to make sure students are learning skills that are needed in the local workplace. That has resulted in expanded welding and culinary programs, and a push for more STEM (science technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Godshall said some of shrinking school districts are sharing programs and staff to maintain programs for students.

“It has implications on how small can we get,” he said about the shrinking schools.

The rate of reduction has slowed and Godshall believes school districts will soon see their enrollments level off without more significant decline.