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Mid-January is set as goal for selection of new school superintendent in Hamburg

Hamburg Central School Board members are looking for a new superintendent – again.

The board decided Tuesday night to start a new search this week, and it hopes to select a new superintendent by mid-January.

The successful candidate will take charge of a district that has been wracked with controversy and upheaval: Former Superintendent Richard E. Jetter resigned in disgrace after admitting he lied in reporting that vandals had damaged his car in a school parking lot when he had caused the damage, and the board voted Sept. 2 to remove board member Catherine Schrauth Forcucci.

Jetter will be sentenced for filing a false police report next month, and Schrauth Forcucci is seeking to retain her seat in U.S. District Court.

Interim Superintendent Vincent J. Coppola, who was brought in to run the district in August after the board put Jetter on paid administrative leave, is conducting the search.

Board members had said several months ago they wanted to wait about a year for the district to settle down, but they endorsed Coppola’s plan to start advertising the job Thursday.

“I know the people that are out there,” said Coppola, adding that he has gotten calls from potential candidates wondering when the search will begin.

Under the time line, the job will be advertised for four weeks, starting Thursday and ending Nov. 24. Coppola will review the responses over the Thanksgiving weekend, and forward the list of qualified candidates to the board by Dec. 3.

The board would meet in executive session Dec. 9 to decide who to interview in the first round. The six semifinalists would be interviewed Dec. 12 and 13, and three finalists would meet with stakeholder groups and undergo second interviews Dec. 17, 18 and 19. The board could visit the home district of the finalist and negotiate a contract in early January.

The new superintendent could be appointed Jan. 20, and could start anywhere from Feb. 20 to July 1, Coppola said.

He said the candidates likely would be from New York State, and more particularly, Western New York.

“There are people who recognize that Hamburg is high profile and a high-quality district,” he said.

The board decided to offer a salary of up to $175,000, although at least two members thought that would be a little high. And while residency in the district would be preferred, it would not be required.

“Do we want people that have managed a big district that are currently making close to that, that need to make close to that, or do we want people that are sort of young and hungry and up-and-coming,” board member Cameron J. Hall said.

“We did take a stab at someone who was young and hungry,” board member Thomas F. Flynn III said, referring to Jetter. He said experience in running a district is important.