New York state public schools provide a free education to every child at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Public schools are regulated by the New York State Education Department and are organized into local school districts which administer the public schools within the district’s particular geographic territory. Districts govern themselves through school boards consisting of citizens elected by the voters of the district.
In New York state, education below the university level is generally divided into four stages: preschool, elementary school, middle school and high school.
Publicly funded education is also provided by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services
(BOCES) and by charter schools. BOCES combines specialized services on behalf of groups of districts and functions as a regional resource.
Charter schools are approved by the state of New York but operate independently of the local districts. In many cases, transportation is also provided by the local public school district, as are textbooks.