Three search firms responded to the Hamburg Central School District’s request for proposals to lead the district in its search and selection of a new superintendent.
School Board members decided Tuesday night they want to talk to representatives of the firms before choosing one at their Nov. 12 regular meeting.
The proposals include: Castallo & Silky of Syracuse, $16,000; Vince Coppola and Western New York Educational Service Council, $12,500 plus about $200 for printing; and Hazard, Young, Alttea and Associates of Illinois, $17,500 plus expenses.
Erie 1 BOCES also would provide the service as one that it provides to its member districts for $7,000. Much of the cost of the BOCES search would be covered by state aid, and after the district is reimbursed it would cost about $2,000, said Director of Administration Barbara Sporyz.
Board President David Yoviene said he does not want to dismiss Coppola, who lives in the Hamburg district, because of the price.
“Vince Coppola does an outstanding job, he has quite the resume,” Yoviene said.
He said maybe the board shouldn’t just look at the savings of having BOCES do the search, but having someone who lives in Hamburg and is dedicated could be the right choice.
Board Member Laura Heeter said Coppola, who spoke to the board in the summer, is well versed in searches. She said Erie 1 Superintendent Donald Ogilvie, who used to be Hamburg superintendent, also lives in the district.
“I think we can’t dismiss the fact that he knows the inner workings of Hamburg. He knows what is going on in our district right now, the good, the bad and the ugly, and he has a ton of passion,” Heeter said, noting that combined with the cost, Ogilvie could be the wisest choice.
Board Member Catherine Schrauth Forcucci said it is difficult to compare the offers because BOCES did not return a proposal. The board endorsed her suggestion to get more information from the respondents and BOCES, and to ask them to make oral presentations to the board.
Some board members and community members have suggested it might be a difficult time to find a superintendent because of the disagreements, unrest and infighting in the district.
Board members held a quiet, polite meeting Tuesday night, but were challenged by two members of the community during the public expression section of the meeting.
“Perception is everything,” parent Ed Piazza said. “Do what you have to do to change the public perception.”
He asked the board to prove there was a process to select a new legal firm and that the choice of attorney James Tresmond is saving money, and wasn’t part of the “friends and family network.”
Attorney Daniel Chiacchia said he is proud to tell colleagues his children go to Hamburg schools.
“And then I get the look, like 'What is going on’,” he said. “There are certain members of this board and certain members of this community that do not have the district’s best interests at heart.”
He said they know who they are, and they are putting self-interests ahead of the district, but he did not name individuals.
Also Tuesday, as part of School Board Recognition Week, copies of student art work were presented to each member, who met and recognized each student in a 15-minute presentation.