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Achramovitch submits resignation as Hamburg school superintendent

Hamburg Central School Superintendent Steven A. Achramovitch, who has presided over some turbulent times in the district, submitted his resignation Wednesday evening.

Several board members said they did not know what was on the agenda of the special meeting until Achramovitch read his memorandum of resignation to board President Joan G. Calkins during the meeting. All voted to accept the resignation, which is effective Aug. 10, without comment.

“When I came to Hamburg schools in September 2010 as interim superintendent, we had many challenges in curriculum instruction, as well as budget development,” he said.

Achramovitch said the board, administration, teachers and staff worked through the challenges, which included the state Education Department‘s reform agenda and the cap on local property taxes.

“I am proud that we collaboratively and successfully worked through these challenges,” he said.

Achramovitch said he did not want to provides details Wednesday night on the reason for his resignation.

“I’d prefer not to comment on it,” he said. “Maybe over the next couple days I can, but tonight I just want to kind of leave here and go, if that’s OK.”

Achramovitch, 58, who made $170,000 a year, had two more years on his contract.

He has dealt with controversy in the district since his first meeting with the board as interim superintendent, which was secretly taped and distributed to community members.

The district and some current and former board members and administrators, including Achramovitch, are suing a teacher, a former teacher and a woman who was elected to the board last year, Sally A. Stephenson, accusing them of surreptitious taping. They have denied it.

The lawsuit, which is ongoing, recently sought the identity of an anonymous blogger who has been critical of the administration.

Achramovitch said he does not know if he will continue with the suit as an individual.

“We haven’t discussed that together yet so I think that is to be determined,” he said.

Also this year, the Hamburg district was one of only four in the state not to have an agreement on a teacher-evaluation plan by the January deadline. State aid was threatened, but it was not taken away. Achramovitch and teachers came to an agreement in April.

The superintendent has been credited with improving Hamburg’s finances and improving the district’s standings in academics, administration and sports programs.

“There’s a lot of positive things that happened in the last four years,” board member Holly A. Balaya said.

She said it was sad to see the superintendent leave so abruptly.

“I thought we’d get through July and get through the first reorganization meeting,” she said.

But many observers of the district saw his days as superintendent numbered after the May election brought in three new board members who will take office in July. The new board members will outpoll the pro-Achramovitch members of the board.

Achramovitch met with the three new board members Monday in what has been described as a tense conversation, sources said.

Stephenson said Achramovitch “saw the writing on the wall.” She has been outspoken in her distaste for the superintendent.

“I cannot work with someone I cannot trust,” she said.