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Stronger school board ethics and vocational education standards

The Buffalo Board of Education offered sentimental goodbyes to board members Lou Petrucci, Ralph Hernandez and Rosalyn Taylor on Wednesday, but they also took action on a number of significant policies. While the adoption of the superintendent's evaluation took center stage at Wednesday's marathon meeting, the board also:

  • Adopted a new Code of Ethics policy, which beefs up the ethics standards for board members and school district employees regarding conflict of interest, voting recusal, and matters that cannot be disclosed if discussed in executive session. Here's a copy of the policy.
  • Approved a new policy for career and technical education (aka vocational education) that is designed to greatly increase student acceptance and participation in job readiness courses. Instead of relying on criteria like GPAs and attendance to determine a student's participation eligibility, the new policy now makes student interest the primary factor in student acceptance to a vocational program. It also requires that all available program seats be filled to capacity in ninth and 10th grades.
  • Approved a resolution by board member John Licata to seek State Legislature support for a local law that would require children to attend school beginning at age 4, when many children begin pre-kindergarten. Currently, children are not required to attend school until age 6, first grade.
  • Approved the creation of a new task force to review and improve the student assignment and placement process. Outgoing board member Petrucci revisited concerns about some South Buffalo residents being unable to enroll their children at their neighborhood Discovery School because of the district's school admissions policy. Other board members said his concerns about Discovery School are not unique to that school community, but are felt by many parents across the district. Hence, a task force.

Finally, Superintendent Brown was expected to announce the reorganization of her central office administration Wednesday, but that announcement was delayed. Since the board meeting ended close to 11 p.m., that's understandable but we are still waiting to hear from her. 

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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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