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Press conferences on dense topics

When Superintendent Pamela Brown announced her desire to reorganize the Buffalo Public Schools central administration, many were curious and interested. She espoused a plan to "streamline" the large, bureaucratic central office in a way that would save the district money while increasing administrative support to its 50+ schools.

But Brown has had difficulty adhering to her own timetable for the reorganization and even more trouble explaining completed aspects of it to the public. Monday's press conference was a good example.

The News had asked to sit down with Brown last week to throughly review her plans for the reorganization. We assumed (correctly) that The News would be the only media organization that would have the interest, time and ability to tackle such a complex topic and break it down for the public in the clearest terms.

Instead, Brown held a 30-minute press conference for all media that showcased nine detailed flow chart slides, which were impossible to decipher from a distance (no slide handouts were distributed but found later online). The dense information presented was simply impenetrable for reporters who had no background in Buffalo school adminstration. The press release that was issued afterward did little to enlighten the average person. It reads like an interoffice memo. As noted in the story, efforts by The News to catch up with someone who could better explain matters after the school board's reorganization went nowhere.

Needless to say, none of the media except for The Buffalo News did a thing with the press conference information. That's too bad because it's obviously important. Hopefully, in the coming days, we'll get a clearer picture of what the reorganization means in terms of people and cost. For anyone interested in trying their own hand at deciphering the district's reorganization plans, here's the link to the slide presentation given by Brown at her press conference. (We've figured out that most of the yellow rectangles on the flow chart represent new positions.)

And below is the press release issued afterward.

 BPS reorganization press release

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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 | djgee@buffnews.com


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 | tlankes@buffnews.com


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 | stan@buffnews.com


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 | dswilliams@buffnews.com

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