‘ Focus on wrongs of past’ is fueling discord - The Buffalo News

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‘ Focus on wrongs of past’ is fueling discord

A group of parents fed up with the recent drama and upheaval in the Hamburg Central School district is organizing a community meeting Thursday.

A notice of the meeting appears on the Facebook page of Hamburg Education Information, started by parents who, according to the page, want to gather and distribute “important factual information to the community, as well as support the Hamburg Schools and the Board of Education in their commitment to moving in a positive direction.”

The Facebook page sprang up this summer as an alternative to the Hamburg Educational Ethics Blog, a sometimes caustic and satirical blog that skewered the previous administration.

“Now is the time to demand that the education of our kids will be put first,” an invitation to Thursday’s meeting, posted last week, reads.

“All parents, teachers, administrators, community members, business owners, and local politicians are invited to join together to create a plan of action to turn the focus of our district BACK to educating our children.”

The meeting apparently was called by several parents who met Sept. 24 with Erie 1 BOCES Superintendent Donald Ogilvie.

It will be conducted at 7 p.m. in the BOCES B Wing at its offices at 355 Harlem Road, West Seneca.

Ogilvie, who won’t attend, said he has taken numerous calls from residents in the Hamburg district who are upset at activities taking place in the district and at School Board meetings over the last several months.

These have been turbulent times for the School Board.

Superintendent Steven A. Achramovitch abruptly resigned as three new School Board members took office this summer.

A secret tape recording of a meeting was the center of a lawsuit, which was then dropped.

Controversy erupted over legal fees, the law firm that represented the district was fired, and a new lawyer was brought on.

The district lost out on hundreds of thousands of dollars of state funding because it didn’t have a teacher evaluation plan in place in time.

A board member recently stormed out of a meeting, and the police were called on another board member to get her to leave the district office.

Ogilvie, who served as superintendent of Hamburg before becoming BOCES superintendent, said he met in September with some of the parents who are organizing Thursday’s meeting.

He made clear he had no intention of taking an active role in the meeting.

“I don’t have a role. I won’t be in attendance,” he said.

When he first met with parents, “I cautioned people I was not going to guide them in a direction. I wasn’t going to participate in any strategy,” he said.

At the September meeting, he met with residents for a time, then left the room.

Ogilvie explained that he is not involved in the meeting but is making resources available that Hamburg and 18 other member districts of Erie 1 BOCES have provided, such as the meeting room.

He said a focus on the “supposed wrongs of the past” is fueling the discord.

“It’s about time those things were left in the past and people recognized they all have something to lose if the district becomes known as a school system that overinvests in adult behaviors,” he said.

In the meantime, the School Board scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. today and is expected to go into a private executive session concerning “matters relating to a police incident which would imperil public safety if disclosed.”

It was not immediately clear whether the “incident” was the one involving a School Board member who was escorted out of the district office last month or something else.

email: bobrien@buffnews.com

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