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How to address the Buffalo school board

How to address the Buffalo school board

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Published by Sandra Tan
A how-to guide by the District Parent Coordinating Council on how to address the Buffalo Board of Education.
A how-to guide by the District Parent Coordinating Council on how to address the Buffalo Board of Education.

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Published by: Sandra Tan on Aug 19, 2013
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08/23/2013

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Guidelines for Making a Statement at the Buffalo Board of Education
Board meetings are held the 2
nd
and 4
th
Wednesday of each month at 801 City Hall at5:30pm.
You must call the Board of Education office and ask to be put on the speakers list byNOON the Tuesday before the Wednesday Board meeting. The number to call is:816-3567.
When you call, you will be asked for your name, affiliation (parent, concerned citizen,etc.), and topic you will be speaking on. When presenting your topic, keep it to a few
words (i.e. “transportation issues” or “school lunches”)
 
Speakers are scheduled early on the agenda. However, if there is a long speakers listand/or the Board has a critical issue to discuss, they may go into executive session andyou will have to wait. You should be prepared to speak right away, or to have to wait.FYI, Board meetings can run upwards towards three hours.
You will have three minutes to present your issue of concern, so plan accordingly.There is currently a large ticking clock on a screen that shows you how much time youhave left. If you do go over, it is rare that you will be cut off immediately, but do attemptto prepare a statement that is brief and to the point.
Be aware that the meetings and your comments are being recorded, and may be onpublic access TV and documented in the Buffalo News and/or other print and onlinemedia.
Some guideline for an effective presentation:
 
 Avoid general complaints (“our kids are failing”) or a list of grievances (“teachers are
bad
, the food is terrible, the bus is always late”
) that do not allow for meaningful andimmediate follow up by the Board of Education.
Speak to your direct and personal experience and be specific. In my case, a busincident with my four year old daughter highlighted safety issues regarding schooltransportation protocol and personnel. In this way, you can use your story as anillustrative example of a problem you want to address.
Understand your objective- is it merely to put something on the record, plant a seed of an idea, or do you want something?
If you want something, propose possible solutions. In the case of my bus incident, I
suggested ideas such as: (1) the smallest children be placed on their own “little bus” or 
(2) more bus aides be hired or (3) that cameras and other technology were not caring for 
our children in “real time” and that there should be an emphasis on making sure our 
children had adequate supervision by an actual person at all times or (4) that we getback to neighborhood schools so our children are not outside of our neighborhood andwe decrease dependency on bussing.
 
You may also want to make a general statement, i.e: “This situation that occurred was
totally unacceptable and I want to know what will be done to ensure that thi
s doesn’thappen to my child or any other child again”. Or you may have a specific request for apolicy or protocol: “I am asking the Bo
ard to remove vending machines with soda and
candy from all schools”.

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