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Hamburg School Board member faces misconduct charges

The Hamburg Central School Board is planning to charge board member Catherine Schrauth-Forcucci with official misconduct Wednesday in a first step to remove her from the drama-plagued board.

Schrauth-Forcucci, who has served on the board less than a year, has often been in the minority on the board, which has held several acrimonious split votes in the past year.

Board President David Yoviene said Schrauth-Forcucci is responsible for much of the dysfunction on the board.

“Her pattern of offensive conduct prevents the board from properly functioning,” he said. “It makes me sick that we have to do this.”

The board called a special meeting for Wednesday, and the agenda released Monday states that the board will vote on charges against Schrauth-Forcucci, designate an attorney to prosecute the charges and hire an officer for the hearing. The board will start the meeting at 5 p.m. in Union Pleasant Elementary School and plans to go into executive session, then reopen the meeting at 6 for the public session.

Yoviene said Schrauth-Forcucci has had inappropriate conduct with staff members and has behaved inappropriately at board meetings.

Schrauth-Forcucci, who is a postal carrier, has been involved in several incidents in the district involving administrators. She went to the administration offices Sept. 24 looking for expenditure reports, according to a Hamburg town police report. Police were called at 5:23 p.m. and were told Schrauth-Forcucci refused to leave when asked by then-interim Superintendent Richard E. Jetter.

“No threats were made, and Schrauth-Forcucci did admit to raising her voice and felt Jetter did not have the authority to ask her to leave the premises,” the report stated.

No charges were filed.

Hamburg Village Police Chief Dennis Gleason said village police are still investigating an incident that occurred Feb. 11 in the hallway of Union Pleasant Elementary before the board went into executive session.

Schrauth-Forcucci and Boston Valley Principal James Martinez had words in the hallway. Martinez had filed an internal complaint of a hostile work environment against Schrauth-Forcucci, two other board members and two employees of the district, and he had been told not to have contact with the board members because of the complaint he filed.

Board member Sally Stephenson and Schrauth-Forcucci objected to Martinez’s presence in the hall, and Schrauth-Forcucci told Martinez he was supposed to stay away, and the altercation escalated.

Yoviene said the timing of the charges has nothing to do with the May 20 School Board election. Six candidates are running for two seats, and the board majority could shift, depending on who is elected. New board members take office July 1.

“I do not take this lightly. This isn’t a political move in time for the election,” he said. “I want her off the board as soon as possible because of the damage she does.”

He said the hearing likely would take place after the election. Should Schrauth-Forcucci be removed, the board would appoint someone to her seat.