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Board interviews to be public, but with no Skype

The Buffalo Board of Ed has decided to conduct its interviews of East District candidates in open session, as we report in today's story.

Score one for open government.

The interviews, scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, will mark the first time in the board's history that the board has complied with the state law that requires such interviews to be conducted in public.

Florence Johnson The session seemed likely to make board history for a second reason: Florence Johnson, who is out of town, was going to use Skype to participate in the interviews.

But early this week, that possibility fell through.

Johnson's laptop doesn't have a camera to enable her to use Skype, and neither does the computer at her hotel, according to Chris Jacobs, who is overseeing the interview process as vice president of executive affairs. So Johnson will still be able to participate in the interviews, but only by phone.

State law prohibits board members from voting by phone, so if the board decides to appoint someone on Thursday, it will be without Johnson's vote. Otherwise, the board will need to wait until after she returns Jan. 20 to get all eight members to vote.

- Mary Pasciak

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee | [email protected]


Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes | [email protected]


Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone | [email protected]


Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB | [email protected]

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