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Hamburg School Board 2015-16 Budget Meeting Tuesday February 24, 2105- 6:30 p.m. at Armor Elementary School.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hamburg School Board where is the alternative tax exemption for our brave veterans?

Recently, the Buffalo News reported on the veterans tax exemption on real property and the available tax savings for those men,women and their families who have sacrificed greatly to ensure our life, liberty and property. 

The News provided a glimpse at the savings for veterans in fifteen local school districts, Hamburg Schools was not mentioned.  It appears that the Hamburg School District and Hamburg School Board is ignoring the alternative tax exemption for veterans.  
The last time the citizens and veterans of Hamburg heard about the available tax savings for our brave men and women was one year ago.   According to district records, there has been no discussion by the Hamburg School District nor the Hamburg School Board on this important matter since February, 2014.  

At that time, Director of Administrative Services Barbara Sporyz reported that research and analysis needed to be done regarding the New York State Real Property Tax Law, section 458-a, which provides a limited exemption from real property taxes for real property owned by persons who rendered military service to the United States, provided such property meets the requirements set forth in the law.  

So, Ms. Sporyz what's the hold up on the tax exemption conversation?  Have you picked up the phone and called the assessors?  What is the impact on the non-veteran tax-payers?  It's clear there is a concern by some that,  "if the parcel is exempt does the balance get picked up by the other taxpayers". The answer to that is, yes it does.  But who cares?  One wonders if these non-veteran folks who might be concerned about an  uptick in their taxes gave any thought to what their lives might be like if our veterans didn't serve?  

February 2014 Hamburg Board Minutes
In February 2014, the community was told there was not enough time to implement the the exemption of the 2014-15 school year.  It remains perplexing why Hamburg has not addressed this important issue for the 2015-16 school year.   Mrs.  Sporyz claims she spoke to legal counsel regarding the exemption.  At what cost to the taxpayer was that conversation?  It seems to Concerned Hamburger, that the Hamburg School District is intentionally ducking this important tax break for military veterans. There is no need to speak to lawyers at $300.00 per hour.  A simple "google" search or old fashioned telephone call to neighboring school districts might do the trick.   

It's not rocket science, it's a process that is relatively simple.  Lawyers are not needed to address the veterans' tax exemption. The fifteen or so districts mentioned in the Buffalo News article seemed to have little trouble figuring out what to do to make the veterans' exemption happen. 

What is needed in Hamburg is a school community that recognizes and values the services and sacrifices of those who risk their lives so our freedom is secure.  

Since last February, Ms. Sporyz has been promoted, tenured and given a generous raise. She makes over $125,000 with salary and benefits.  Her business office has accumulated a record fund balance(district rainy day account)and at the same time cut teachers and staff positions , cut clubs and classes, pays two superintendents, and squandered 1/2 million dollars with Andy Freedman, Esq.  et.al in the Forcucci witch hunt.  

So, Mrs. Sporyz, what about the veterans?  When will the Hamburg School Board spend time discussing this much deserved benefit for our brave citizens?  Hamburg has many service personnel.  The lamp posts in the village honor the brave ones among us.  Hamburg Schools has produced hundreds of service personnel, some gave their lives in the service of this great nation.  So, when will the Hamburg School Board do their job and bring the tax exemption benefit to a public hearing for a discussion, then adopt a resolution and vote?  

The March 1, 2015 deadline is around the corner. 

Here is a bit of background information on the New York State Real Property Tax Law, section 458-a
A resident home-owner who was honorably discharged after full-time active service during a time of war (dates as determined by NY State Taxation & Finance) in one of the 5 branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, the surviving un-remarried spouse of such a veteran, or a Gold Star Parent is eligible. National Guard service is not considered to be active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. In general, reservists are also excluded unless they performed significant, full-time active duty. Those who served outside the time of war dates established by NY State may be eligible for the Cold War Veteran’s exemption, but they are not eligible for an exemption on school taxes.

Components of the alternative tax exemption are as follows: 

Basic Exemption:  Tax exemption of 15% of the assessed value of the property, not to exceed $12,000 or the product of $12,000 multiplied by the latest state equalization rate for the assessing unit, whichever is less.

Combat Zone:  For veterans who are documented to have served in a combat zone an additional tax exemption of 10% of the assessed value of the property, not to exceed $8,000 or the product of $8,000 multiplied by the latest state equalization rate, which ever is less. 

Disabled Veterans:  Where the veteran received a compensation rating from the Veterans’ Administration or Department of Defense based upon a service related disability, an additional tax exemption on the qualifying residential property to the extent of the product of the assessed value multiplied by 50% of the veteran’s disability rating, not to exceed $40,000 or the product of $40,000 multiplied by the latest state equalization rate, whichever is less.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Buffalo teacher and union leader kicked out of a Buffalo school board meeting

Kevin Gibson, Secretary of the Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF), was evicted from a public meeting during public expression.   A polite Mr. Gibson approached the rostrum at the February 4th  Buffalo school board meeting to address a matter of public interest.   He was interrogated by Buffalo School Board Member Larry Quinn as to his identity.  Mr. Quinn asks Mr. Gibson if he is a member of the BTF,  and told him that the meeting was not a "BTF meeting".  

Seconds later, a member of the Buffalo Police Department (a real safety officer with law enforcement accoutrements) ejected Mr. Gibson from the meeting.  Not one board member stopped the action, and the feeble Donald Ogilve sat in the corner observing the obstruction of democracy.   Mr. Ogilve is likely licking his wounds after the beating he took for sending the children of Buffalo out into the frozen city this past Groundhogs Day.  

Every teacher and member of the public should be outraged at the actions depicted in this video.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Mr. Cornell will be appointed on February 10, 2015

Amherst Middle School Principal Mike Cornell will be appointed in February and start work in March as the next superintendent of Hamburg Schools.  Mr. Cornell will be earning approximately $160,000 plus a generous perks plan.

Mr. Cornell will begin his service in Hamburg on Monday, March 9, 2015.  The Board will terminate the services of Mr. Vincent Coppola effective Friday, March 6, 2015.  

Michael Cornell is expected to be the next Hamburg School Superintendent

It has been reported that Amherst Middle School Principal Michael Cornell will be the next Hamburg School Superintendent.  The Hamburg School Board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, February 10th in a regularly scheduled meeting and will likely appoint Mr. Cornell during that session.  

It has not been disclosed how much Mr. Cornell will be paid as the next Superintendent of Hamburg, but surely it will be more than the big fat salaries bestowed upon Colleen Kaney, Barbara Sporaz and Brent Jordan. All three individuals are Hamburg Central Administrators, and all were given new titles and new pay grades by former Hamburg Superintendent Dick Jetter, just days before his mask was pull off for all to see the crazy man beneath.

These individuals were given three year contracts and salaries as follows:

  • Colleen Kaney:  (14-15) $122,000, (15-16) $123,000, (16-17) $124,000
  • Barbara Sporaz: (14-15) $125,000, (15-16) $126,000, (16-17) $127,000
  • Brent Jordan: (14-15) $110,000, (15-16) $111,000, (16-17) $112,000

It is hoped for the sake of the Hamburg taxpayer, that the school board did not use the services of Mr. Andrew Freedman of Hodgson Russ to negotiate with Mr. Cornell.  It was the legal art of Mr. Freedman, allegedly a close personal friend of Dick Jetter, that saddled the Hamburg taxpayer with the Jetter contract and contract buy-out.   One would hope that given the beating the district took in the Dick Jetter drama that Mr. Freedman et.al were sent packing.  As the old saying goes, "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me".  Here is hoping the Hamburg School Board learned the lessons about blood sucking lawyers. 

Welcome to Hamburg Central School District Mr. Cornell, you will officially be entering the twilight zone. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Amherst Middle School Principal Michael Cornell interviewed in Hamburg

According to the Buffalo News, the Hamburg School Board is down to a lone candidate for Superintendent- Mr. Michael Cornell, Principal of Amherst Middle School.   Mr. Cornell has five years experience in Amherst, and was an Assistant Principal in Lancaster.    According to sources, Mr. Cornell has no central administrative experience, but is considered a great building leader at Amherst Middle School.

It seems that the Hamburg School Board is having trouble attracting seasoned administrators to take the position of Superintendent.  It has been suggested that some in the tiny, yet notorious, parent group are working behind the scenes to thwart highly qualified candidates from coming to Hamburg.  

Any candidate for the position must be a tall blade of grass willing to stand-up to the scythe of the vocal minority.  Sometimes, the grass is not greener on the other side.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hamburg Board to interview superintendent candidates

According to an article in the Buffalo News the Hamburg School Board will interview candidates for the superintendent position.  Recently,  Jon MacSwan withdrew his interest in the position.     It appears that Hamburg is having difficulty attracting school superintendent material, and will likely have to look within their own ranks for someone to take the job.  Like Buffalo Public Schools, it seems that anyone with experience is shying away from Hamburg.

After the departure of Peter Roswell in 2007, Hamburg has had four superintendents.  Mark Crawford left Hamburg after a short junket,  Steve Achramovitch ran out of Hamburg after taking a verbal beating by Hamburg School Board President David Yoviene, and well, we know what happened to Doctor Richard Jetter.    Since  fall 2014, Vincent Coppola has been at the helm.

The chaos of the last 18 months spearheaded by a rabid, uninformed and vitriolic parent and administrative group has permanently voided the adage "Hamburg the town that friendship built".  So who would come to Hamburg Central Schools?  Perhaps the next superintendent will need a working third eye.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hamburg Spys

"A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation."   Adlai .E. Stevenson

Concerned Hamburger came upon the below email (in blue and red) from Hamburg School Board President David Yoviene written on May 16, 2013- just a few days before he was elected to the school board.   Mr. Yoviene credits Concerned Hamburger for his interest in being on the Hamburg School Board.   Mr. Yoviene pledges to fight to protect first amendments rights, and other noble causes.  He criticizes his predecessors for wasteful spending which lined the pockets of greedy lawyers.  Mr. Yoviene, you and your ilk have eclipsed the transgressions of Dr. Calkins et. al..  Surely, the legal bills and other channeling of monies away from the kids under your watch is tipping toward the 1/2 million dollar mark.   

For example, it was recently learned that the Hamburg School Board, Hodgson Russ Law Firm and a firm called DIGITS- digital forensic solutions spent thousands of  taxpayer dollars in a scheme to learn the identity of an "anonymous blogger".  It has also been learned that the anonymous blogger is Concerned Hamburger.   This tri-party plan to discover, at the very least questionably and perhaps illegally,  the ISP carrier and identity of a private citizen pauses one to ponder the ethical and legal ramifications of the clandestine scheme funded by dollars earmarked for Hamburg kids.    Mr. Yoviene,  don't you think this money could have been better spent?  Perhaps pay a grant writer to go after monies for sidewalks, hockey teams and restoring teachers and programs so kids aren't pent up in study halls?    

Sorry children you will have to raise your own money in cookie sales to fund your clubs and sports, we are taking your money to spy on private citizens. 

It is widely accepted in some circles that the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees  the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall be issue, but upon probable cause,  supported by oath or
As seen in the Hamburg Sun 
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.   

One must wonder if they are still teaching the Bill of Rights in law schools?  It appears not.  Alternatively,  the Bill of Rights is being taught, but not learned.  In Hamburg anything goes, and it seems there are plenty of attorneys frothing at the mouth for a piece of the Hamburg school budget.   Dozens of lawyers and private companies have been beneficiaries of the piss on the Constitution approach practice in Hamburg.

The email from David Yoviene, below in blue and red,  was written to Concerned Hamburger just a few days after a NYS Supreme Court Judge quashed a subpoena issued to Google for the identity of Concerned Hamburger and the identity of bloggers Klozman and Super.   Concerned Hamburger, Klozman and Super won in court, and the school district and its attorneys had egg on their faces.   At the end of the court hearing, attorney for Concerned Hamburger remarked, “it’s just wrong,  it’s strong-armed, storm trooper type of tactics”.  He also called it an “assault on the First Amendment.     Now, it seems you can add the 4th Amendment to the the assault list. 

"Dear Concerned Hamburger,

 If it wasn’t for this blog I would not be running for Hamburg School Board. I commend you for your bravery and for standing up for the students, teachers and taxpayers of the Hamburg School District.
I realize you cannot control the comments posted on this blog. However, that is what blogs are all about “Free Speech” and “opinions”. I do not particularly like the nasty personal comments. But these blogs have sprung up at every district that has employed our current superintendent. It is the poor leadership of The Board and The Superintendent that leads to these comments. These blogger fear from possible retribution from The Board and Superintendent. From what we have seen in the Buffalo News, all four local news channels and the Hamburg Sun it is obvious that The Board and Superintendent are trying to silence anyone who opposes their opinions.

I will stand and fight to protect anyone who exercises their First Amendment Rights by expressing their opinions on this blog.

 After I am elected , I will fight to stop all payments to the  Harris Beach Law Firm. I will get it done. I will wipe the stench of Harris Beach from our District and begin the healing immediately.
My wife and I have lived in this school district our entire lives. Two of my children graduated from Hamburg and I still have a 5th Grader at Armor.  We grew up with many of the teachers that taught our children. Those teacher worked hard with my children. They never gave up even when my children struggled. That is something I will never forget. That is why I cannot stand on the sidelines and watch our beautiful school system torn to shreds.
I have always wanted to pay those teachers back. Teacher morale has never been lower. That is not the way you run a school system.  Therefore, I am running for school board and will never stop fighting to bring our once happy school district back to the way it always was.
I have been on the Hamburg School Transportation Committee for 18 Years. The School Board presented The Federally Funded Safe Route to School  Program to us 3 months after the deadline had passed. They talked about it at board meetings but were too busy fighting like children to meet the deadline. We all know the results, six districts around Hamburg received in excess of $400,000. Hamburg received nothing because we missed the deadline. Now, The BOE announced 3 months ago that there is a new similar federal program. They have yet to send it to the Transportation Committee. We need sidewalks fixed at Charlotte Ave and need money to fix that massive traffic jam at the Middle School. Nevertheless, our School Board has already forgotten about it. They are too busy with damage control and trying to justified the thousands of dollars wasted on that ridiculous lawsuit.

  It will turn my stomach to vote yes on the budget. But, we do not have a choice. The money is already gone. All that money is safely in the Harris Beach bank account.  We must vote yes to preserve our programs and teachers. If the budget is voted down, the current board will have to bring a new budget to the voters in June. That is the same board that cut 56 teachers and a ton of programs. As the board stated at the last meeting, nothing will stop them from this frivolous lawsuit or hunting down bloggers. Remember, our reserves are almost depleted. Next year tax increase will be almost identical to this year’s outrageous 5.4% increase.

My platform is simple:
·         Stop the lawsuit and the wasteful spending
·         Listen to Teachers and Parents, especially regarding this State testing. Parents should know their options. It is the Boards responsibility to relay this valuable information.
·         Work with our elected officials to find new sources of revenues
·         Apply for every grant possible. Perhaps an incentive to teachers that write and apply for grants.
·         Work in harmony and cooperation with my fellow board members

Most important remember to vote on May 21st at the High School

Thank you,

Dave Yoviene
Cell # 716-574-XXXX

This is my work e mail, I would like to keep it private. That is why I gave the AOL e mail.  You are welcome to post the above to the blog if you wish.

I support you and thank you for this blog. I would have never know

You can call me on my cell or e mail me if you wish."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hamburg School Board will have a special meeting to discuss superintendent search on 1-8-15

According to the Hamburg School District web page, the Hamburg School Board will meeting this evening at 6 pm at the Hamburg Administration Building to discuss personnel matters related to the Superintendent Search.  It was announced earlier today that Mr. Jon MacSwan reneged on an agreement to come to Hamburg.  Mr. MacSwan is said to have decided to stay in Cleveland-Hill School District. 

Mr. MacSwan's decision to blow off Hamburg comes just days after the local media agencies announced his selection.  MacSwan must have very good reasons for his choice not to come to Hamburg schools as his decision at the 11th hour will likely be taken in a dim view by search consultant and interim superintendent Vincent Coppola.

Breaking News: Jon MacSwan backs out of Hamburg offer

Top candidate for Hamburg School Superintendent Mr. Jon MacSwan of Cleveland Hill Schools, has backed out of negotiations.    Staff in Hamburg were notified today that Mr. McSwan will be staying in Cleveland Hill. 

So, it seems, back to the drawing board for the Hamburg School Board.   

Can this Board of Education get anything right?     

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Jon MacSwan next Hamburg Superintendent

Cleveland Hill Superintendent Jon MacSwan is the choice to be the next Hamburg School Superintendent.  Mr. MacSwan has been at Cleveland Hill since 2011.   According to an article posted on the Cleveland Hill web page, MacSwan is a graduate of Niagara-Wheatfield High School. He went to Alfred University to obtain his undergraduate degree and most of his graduate work was accomplished at Buffalo State College. 

MacSwan was recently the principal of West Seneca West Senior High School for eight years. Before that, he served as assistant principal at Williamsville East High School where he was also in charge of the summer school program and was district director of the driver education program. Before serving in administrator positions, MacSwan taught special education from kindergarten to 12th grade. 

The Hamburg School Board passed over Karen Geelan of Allegany Limestone for the position. 

It is hoped that the Hamburg School Board hires an ethical lawyer to write and negotiate a contract that protects the interests of the district.