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The school board agenda is secret no longer

After much back and forth this week, I'm happy to announce that the Buffalo school district will now publicly post its full agenda on the district's website. That's right. Buffalo City Schools has joined the modern era (years behind other school districts in the region) by making this public document publicly available. No more passwords, and no more need for parents, teachers and community members to wait anxiously for The Buffalo News to repost the full board agenda openly on its own website. The Buffalo school district will now post all school board agenda packets prior to each regular meeting without any further "help" from us.

The district has a link on its homepage to the full board packet. It can also be found under the "Board of Education" link under "Upcoming Board Meeting Packet." Thanks to district spokeswoman Elena Cala for addressing concerns raised by The News on Monday regarding the whole matter. The posting of the board packet is required as a result of a transparency resolution by board member Jim Sampson that was approved by the board 8-1 at the last meeting in September. All non-confidential supporting information and presentations are also supposed to be posted from now on.

Aside from standard district items, the posted agenda packets now include -- for the first time -- all board member resolutions. This is very important because it's often board member resolutions that wind up being the most newsworthy issues discussed by the board. Previously, no board member resolutions were included in the agenda, leaving the public in the dark about what was likely to come up.

The district is still trying to figure out the best way to list the board member resolutions. Right now, they're simply tacked on the end of the agenda packet, this week that's 127 pages in. You'd have to know that to easily find them. In the future, we hope they'll be listed somewhere on the front agenda summary pages, so anyone can easily see what's coming up for discussion.

In this week's posted agenda packet, you'll find board member resolutions from Carl Paladino, James Sampson and John Licata. They relate to several hot-button issues including the district's contract with Cross & Joftus and the district reorganization.

As previously noted, the board will now hold the first meeting of every month in the community instead of in Room 801 of City Hall, a change that should delight anyone who has ever struggled to find a parking space or a lumpy seat on a board meeting night. This week's meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday will be held at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts.

The News will live blog the meeting, as always, but if you want to be there in person, you'll have far fewer headaches trying to do it. If you're a blog follower, check back here later. We'll have it going.

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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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