NEW- THE FLEECING OF THE TAXPAYER- HODGSON RUSS LEGAL BILL

*****NEW****Click on link below to be directed to the Hodgson Russ Legal Bills Jan- May 2016- THE FLEECING OF THE TAXPAYER.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B03Rg-d-K8EZYVRLTUxxVmpUNzA/view?usp=sharing


Sunday, March 27, 2011

At a Loss

Many great teachers got pink slips on Friday.  Many of them are the sole bread winners of their families.  Many of them will have to find health care for their kids.  Many of them will soon not be able to make their mortgage payments.  Many of them will have lost their jobs because of a RSB and administration with absolutely no fiscal accountability (please read past posts for more information on the past financial mishaps of the District).*  


Case in point:  Besides giving Achramo a raise in December, at a RSB meeting in October the RSB welcomed a new teacher.  This employee began his tenure in Hamburg in November.  Now, just a short four months later, this teacher was laid off.    We can only take solace in the fact that last year almost all the teachers laid off in April were called back and the District ended the year with a 4.2 million dollar fund balance.  Hopefully, the anguish so many teachers are facing this sunny Sunday will be as short lived as the financial foresight of the RSB.  

I am at a loss for words about the cuts, but I am equally at a loss for words about the continual lack of regard for Open Meetings Laws.  Is it of the opinion of this blog that the RSB continues to have the following violations:

  1. The RSB cannot "anticipate" they will go into executive session before every meeting.  We interpret that sentence to mean they anticipate they will complete the important, controversial, and necessary business of the District in secret for an hour and then proceed to waste the public time with a dog and pony show from the respective building. At last week's meeting, the RSB and the High School principal got a certificate of recognition from AFS, an organization which places foreign exchange students with American families. What a public embarrassment that Dr. Calkins, RSB President, accepted the recognition, when in fact, she and her cronies voted to cut the AFS club at the High School for 2010-11 school year. Do they get it: AFS International Club is the same AFS from which they gladly received a recognition?  Get a clue RSB.
  2. Not a single cut was done in public.  How quickly the debate was shut down after a few community members and students spoke about the Finance Academy.  Robert Freeman, the State's foremost authority on Open Meetings Laws said, “The word ‘personnel’ does not appear in the law or in the court decisions [as a reason to go into executive session],” he said, “and it should be eliminated from our vocabulary. Discussions about the budget must be done in open meetings."  [click here for article].
  3. All action items are done under consensus to deliberately avoid public discussion.  This is dubious at best.  I would assume the "G.2.a Personnel Changes"  was the Board's rubber stamp of Achramo's purposed staff reductions.  I just wonder if the RSB actually knew where all the cuts were coming from?  Last year a RSB member said I did not know who was going to be cut and I didn't care.  Joan Calkins herself said she did the best she could do.  Did Dr. Calkins realize that almost everyone was going to be called back before the year let out? [click here for post on last year's layoffs]  Unfortunately, the best of this RSB results in shoddy personnel decisions and unnecessary anguish.  Maybe they should ask questions before they rubber stamp everything. Was it the best they could do, when they hired Steven Achramovitch?   Was it the best they could do when they gave Achrmo a salary higher than that of the former Superintendent?
  4. NO DISCUSSION IS DONE IN PUBLIC.  Has anyone actually heard the RSB answer a question from someone making comments in public?  It is actually unconscionable that the RSB says nothing once the actual meeting begins.  All we get is Achramo's nasally voice pretending to present information to the RSB for the first time.  Maybe the best the RSB can do is shut their mouths.  As Abe Lincoln said "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." 
  5. Why is it necessary to have a "media packet?"  Shouldn't the media get all the necessary information in the "public" portion of the meeting.  Shame on the media for not demanding that the information contained in their "media packet" be presented to the public. [click here for article on March 22nd meeting]  Maybe the Buffalo News Southtowns reporter is unaware of Open Meetings Laws and Justice Black's opinion on New York Times Co. v. United States (1971) "The press was to serve the governed, not the governors."
Please go to the community sessions of the presentations on the purposed budget and renovation projects.  I am not sure if Achramo will take public comments, but not being informed will really affect your children.  Achramo and the RSB need to know that you expect more.  Cutting your teachers should not be the first option.  The RSB will most likely unanimously pass Achramo's purposed budget on Tuesday, April 12.











55 comments:

violating the law & flaunting it said...

Handing a media packet to the Bflo News reporter, before they start the meetings says it all. All their business has been done before the public part of the meeting begins. The taxpayers are clueless as to what is in that packet and yet all this work is suppose to be done in the public eye. Violating the law and flaunting it.

achramo shame on you said...

Ya the teacher that was hired in Oct. resigned from another teaching position to come to our district. Now he is out on the street unable to go back to his former school. The Supt. screwd him since he knew he was going to lay him off this spring. What a creep.

Anonymous said...

They don't give a care about laws.

Anonymous said...

I beg anyone who does not understand what a faece Hamburg BOE meetings are to attend a meeting or 2 in a neighboring district. I can at least speak for West Seneca and say that they are professional and informational. Agenda's are emailed out prior to the meeting and full minutes are poste after. Even if an item is voted on in consensus, the item is spelled out in the agenda. There are times when members of the school district, students and staff, speak and highlight what they have accomplished, but that is not the whole meeting. How can people be laid off BEFORE the state budget and district budget havebeen presented, let alone voted on?

Anonymous said...

Concerned,

thank you for the nice article. You have humanized us. This board just looks at us as numbers or bodies. What a shame many of us have been here a long time and we love our jobs. We just want to be left alone to teach our students.

Klozman said...

Hamburger...I am at a loss as to why the same grievances are rehashed when there is an election brewing. A worthwhile shift would be to utilize this blog as an effective tool for getting Sally Stephenson elected. If you are not acquainted with her bona fides, I strongly suggest you get with the program. Burger, I admire and respect your brilliance, but Sally has the ability to really open your eyes vis-à-vis the political arena. You will swiftly discover that she epitomizes the best of the best...the embodiment of the primus inter pares; a born leader. Nothing will begin to modernize the RSB until at least one of those comedians is replaced by this knowledgeable, competent, gifted individual who is concerned with both the opinions and welfare of others. Why must we perpetually be subjected to the ego-maniacal personalities and inferior abilities of the RSB? I have frequently commented on Sally’s qualifications...how about picking up the ball and running with it? HTA, your support and endorsement are essential and will garner fruition beyond your utmost expectations. Sally is plus,plus and she knows how to get things done.

Anonymous said...

Klozman, nice sales pitch. How about you start your own blog for Sally.

Sally for BOE PRESIDENT said...

Klozman, you dont need to start a Sally Blog. We all lover you and her. Klozman and Sally for BOE. Man, that would be a coupe!!!! Get rid of the crooks vote Sally S and Klozman :-) Say goodbye Joanie and Patty, go back to 4 H and knit a pair of socks!

Anonymous said...

Klozman if you run for school board I will be voting for you.

I personally know the Stephenson's and I am for sure in their corner.

Anonymous said...

Mike Gallagher principal of our HS recommending teacher cuts to our sb. He doesn't know what is going on in his own school, let alone our classrooms. He is the embodiment of the (peter principil) promotion to his level of incompetence.

friend from the past said...

Don't know if Sally is running, but if she is she has my vote. She is the only one with intestinal fortitude to open this board up and make them accountable.

elect new leaders said...

As many writers have suggested send them a real strong signal this May and vote every incumbent out of office. We have seen enough. They have made a mockery out of our school dist.

Anonymous said...

Gallagher doesn't belong in the HS he is more of a elementary school teacher. He can't manage our students at this level.

pot in middle school said...

Just found out form my middle school daughter that 8 of her classmates were busted with pot today at school. And we don't have a drug problem.

Get Real said...

pot in the middle school, are you surprised about drugs in Hamburg? Apparently you dont read this blog. My guess the kiddles got busted and sworn to secrecy. Did the Hamburg police let the school district deal with it, or did they come and arrest the kids? Lets guess. Drugs run free in Hamburg, and the village police leave it to the likes of the high school principal to deal with...more customers for his daddy. The community should flip out about the drugs. There is dealing going on in the schools. Get a clue hamburg and call your village police.

doing their job said...

My child also reported the incident. The principal was on top of the situation according to my son and his friends. Checking lockers and basically doing their job. Put the scare into my kid, which is good.

Anonymous said...

Hamburg is a drug free zone. Keep enforcing it.

parent said...

We need to keep educating our kids to the danger of drugs. We need the health/science teachers to keep pounding into their heads the destruction drugs have on their bodies, minds and that addiction will eventually destroy their lives.

concerned parent said...

Why are you cutting health programs? Our kids need to know the facts about drugs, sexually transmitted diseases and the mere facts of life. Remember this is part of their education to.

Anonymous said...

Educating your child about STDs and drugs should be our job as parents and not the school's. Public health education is a joke.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ with the health education/std situation. At some point parents need to step up and be responsible for their childrens moral behavior. It is their teachers job to educate them in their curriculum, it is a parents job to give them moral foundation, respect for others as well as themselves, which includes health education. Parents need to stop relying on their teachers for everything having to do with their children and own up to their own responsibilities. Teachers have a hard enough time with their day to day activites of educating our children, theyre not responsible for raising them as well. IF so, they'd clearly be paid much more.

Anonymous said...

to anony 4:29pm 3/31

Many of our parents are clueless. Some are also substance abuses themselves. These kids don't stand a chance unless they are shown otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Hey younger teacher;
please show us what you got on this guy achramo. So far it is known that his last two positions he was asked to leave and that he left a lot of wreakage. Check out the Supreme Court cases that he is and was involved in. Remember he fired a teacher because of his race.
Achramo now is dubble dipping collecting his NYS pension and $170 thousand plus perks possibly costing the dist over $200 thousand. So far I'm not beliving you ,that you really did any research on this guy. I will give you this he is a slick double talker. Beware he is a well documented stud muffin on the move.

Mom said...

Public education is not a joke it should be taken seriously. This is my children's future you are talking about and I care about their teachers and their Principal.

Former Student said...

I hate to break it to you all but the only memories I have of Life Skills are "the only way you can get AIDS in highschool is by playing 'pass the blood'". You really expect me to get something out of that? And the only reason I remember that is because I was laughing so hard at that idiotic comment made by our teacher. Life skills was and is a joke and every student there knows it. Don't be so existential and think that class is saving your child from the dangers of the world. It's not. I know better than you do. I actually took the class. And yes, public HEALTH education is a joke. I can attest to that as well. I got nothing out of Life Skills. Nothing but a good laugh.

Anonymous said...

Attacking the Superintendent for things about his personal life makes us look tacky and it also makes it look like we don't have any legitimate complaints about him. He is not the devil. That there were lawsuits at his former jobs may mean that he didn't want to just settle stupid cases and actually fought instead of caving. His boards must have gone along with that. Certainly he isn't a racist. Criticzing his leadership is one thing. Personal attacks are stupid though. Give him a chance. Respectfully, Concerned (younger) Teacher

to misinformed said...

To anonymous 7:42 am 4/1/11

than you don't know him. He has you fooled also. Plenty on him, contact old school bd. members and you wouldn't be singing his praise.
He is a good con man and a liar, plain and simple. A lot of research has been done on him apparently you should have done some yourself before you hired him.
Foil requests revealed a lot on him (FREECOM OF INFORMATION LAW)

be cautious said...

To the defender of Achramovitch
from Greece NY
You mean to tell me that the State supreme ct appellate division has him wrong. He is a guy who digs a deep grave, cares less about people as as many will tell you "he will lie to you even when he knows that you know that he is lying and will continue to try and convince you that you are wrong". As stated he was asked to leave KenTon and Greece his last two previous districts. Ask yourself why. He doesn't know fact from fiction. Advise to you be cautious.

alum and parent said...

Herion has a grip on our kid,
substance abuse can happen in any home. It happens in the best of homes, it has no barriers. Our kids need to know what addiction does to them and everyone around them. Heroin is cheap and widely available. Many a parent was in shock to find that their kid was hooked. We never saw it coming with our daughter. We provide a good home for her and our other children. Peer pressure is great. Our daughter was an honor student, athlete you wouldn't have never known. I say do all you can and at a certain age their friends have more influence than you. Any and all education that puts this front and center should be promoted. Have Kevin Trask with the Tn. drug force come in and talk to the kids, have those that have had their lives ravaged from this monster share their stories.

Please don't be too judgemental. We need to educate them. We didn't have a clue, we will worry the rest of lives about her. It has a grip on our lives unlike anything that I could ever imagine.

kenton said...

anony 7:42am 4/1

get your boots out again the manure is getting deep. He is as bad as reported here, I know my facts. KenTon

Anonymous said...

The suit doesn't make the man. His past is what concerns us.

Anonymous said...

I have looked at most of the messages posted on this blog and almost all of the criticism of our Superintendent are about the Opne Meetings laws. Other than that he hasn't done anything wrong here. It thats the case then he we shouldn't be attacking him, especially the personal attacks. The News says lots of districts violate the Open meetings laws. Is that all we have on him here? Respectfully, Concerned (younger) Teacher

Anonymous said...

Young teacher (are) u the subject of achramos fantasy? Are u blind or on the RSB?

Klozman said...

Young teacher...you represent exactly what I referred to previously as the “intellectually ignorant”...either that or perhaps you are already in Achramo's nest. You are the quintessential illustration of a person who cannot see the forest for the trees. I am not aware of how young “young” is in your case, but you express the sort of idealistic drivel normally seen in someone who has not yet reached her late twenties. If you base you opinion of Achramo on the claptrap that he relentlessly spews forth, then you are living in Lala Land. Do some in-depth research, as many of us already have, before you continue to bombard this rip-off artist with accolades.

Anonymous said...

To 2:53
I suppose it was the superintendent's fault that YOUR daughter had pot at school. Time to start taking responsibility for your own flaws.

Anonymous said...

My guess is it wasnt the superintendents fault, but the daughter may have beeen smoking pot it with the pothead in the guidance dept.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Klotzman: I guess I am ignorant as all i've seen in the blog is references to how bad the Superintendent is but I haven't seen any details other than he violated the open meetings law. There is also mention that he left another district because he fell for a teacher or something like that. Maybe he was already having marital problems before that. That is his personal life. Attacking him for that isn't right and it makes us teachers look tacky. He hasn't misled us. He said there's a major budget issue. There is. He may not be as solid as Dr. Crawford but that doesn't make him the devil. I just want to teach and not have to see all of this undeserved animosity. Respectfully, Concerned (younger) Teacher

Concerned (older) Teacher- Step 17 said...

Younger Teacher, How do you know there is a budget crisis? Was there a budget crisis when the auditors presented in November, NO. Was there a budget crisis when the BOE handed Achramo 170K in Decemeber, NO! Maybe you are too young to remember last year when there was a budget crisis, and the dynamic duo of crawford-kerr went around and slashed your colleagues jobs. They created a s-storm, didnt follow the law, lied and randomly brought teachers back, then closed the year with over a 4 million dollar saving account. Do you believe achramos numbers? If so you are a fool. THe district has been lying about numbers for years, do you ask questions??? I agree with you, I dont care about achramo's personal life so long as he doesnt start shagging young married teachers in hamburg and run his home wrecking skills around our community like he did in Kenton. He personal life is his own, and should remain that way. Dont be fooled by his numbers, because they are hocus pocus. Apparently you are young, but not low on the seniority lists, otherwise, my guess is you would be singing a different tune.

Wisconsin Badger said...

If the Super is so upstanding, why did he exclude teachers and staff from his ambassadors group. Hello, out there, if you get the business community together to discuss school funding, they are going to recommend holding taxes. He intentionally " stacked the deck" in the ambassadors club, and the dumber than dumb on the RSB bobbled their collective brain in agreement. Where are the teachers???Why arent you people marching in front of the admin bldg demanding real answers?

Anonymous said...

Step 17 and Wisconsin Badger: Most of what I know I learn from the blog, from talks with other teachers and what I read in the News. The News has reported that the State is cutting millions of dollars from schoold budgets hasn't it? Isn't our district facing a "crisis" level cut too? Also, from the rumors on the earlier rumors I heard,about what happened in kenmore was not home wrecking. What is the ambassadors group? Is that the business group? Respectfully, Concerned (younger) Teacher

Anonymous said...

to concerned younger teacher - you downplay the personal stuff but its important. I agree with you that he isn't doing anything really wrong here with Hamburg. We're allowed to question his honesty on Hamburg issues. I agree that he hasn't been dishonest here but we have to keep watching.

Anonymous said...

No drugs were found at the middle school. All the kids called down to the office spilled the beans and admitted to smoking pot OUTSIDE of school, yes, at YOUR HOUSES and on YOUR WATCH, not the middle school's.

All parents of involved students were called. Yes, the middle school did their job and did it well.


Most of YOU allow your children to watch Jersey Shore and Skins, or worse yet, have no clue what they are watching. You buy them the most expensive cell phones and ipods so they can "fit in" at school. Instead of being parents YOU ARE ALLOWING them to get sucked into the cess pool we now know as society.

So don't blame the lack of Health Education for YOUR parenting disasters. I mean, have you NOT noticed the gangs of middle school kids roaming the streets of Hamburg late at night? Where are those parents? Oh, I know, they are at home on this blog complaining about something they know NOTHING about, just like the author of this blog.

Anonymous said...

I guess you haven't read the entire blog. Oh, ya not just one but many YOUNG ladies in two other school districts. Be cautious if he has snared you he is living in Wm with another conquest. Young ladies married with young children, forget about justifying him.

Anonymous said...

As I see it before the year is up he is going to cost us another Million with his HARRIS BEECH LAW FIRM, form Wall St. and Albany. Last year in Greece almost $ 3 million.

loyal friend said...

to anonymous 6:31 4/2

yes my good friends marriage was ruined because of your supt. Carried on right in his office after hours. Worse yet used his position to try to negatively affect his career as a teacher. So ya sad to say it's true.

Anonymous said...

An extramarital affair is personal, yes. However, when it is an affair with a married teacher in the district where you are the super, then it is beyond personal business. It is unprofessional and crosses the line. It is a boss having an affair with their employee. If it's true that it was on district grounds, that's even worse. It should be cause for one's termination from the position. Anyone who thinks that's acceptable has no morals.

Caring Parent said...

Anonymous 6:36...you are wrong about the parents on this blog. The parents that don't care what their kids are doing aren't on this blog. The parents that are here DO care about our kids. That is why we are concerned about their education and Hamburg schools. The ones that don't give a damn couldn't care less what kind of corruption is going on in this school district.

kenton said...

Sorry to say
no my friends marriage was not on the rocks. Their son was a baby at the time, and my dear friend never saw it comming, Achramovitch busted up his family then dumped his wife. Just imagine Achramovitch disciplines the dist. employees for far lesser offenses and similiar acts while he's carrying on with my friends wife a dist teacher then he trys to get my friend fired. He is bold and brazen can talk the socks off just about anyone. We understand same in Greece. We will be following to see how your district fares with him.

concearnedparent1 said...

I think that you all are losing touch with what this is about. The district broke the law. Last I checked this was a democracy and they worked for us. The budget issues are tough and unfortunately tough decisions have to be made. But how the hell did it get so bad? Mismanagement and an apatheic and over trusting public. I too am one of the many who simply voted yes to the budget but didn't really think about who I was voting for. meetings? Didn't attend my first one until this year. I now go to them all. Younger teacher - I don't work here, but I do work in a neighboring district. Just wait until you have years in, a family, and roots and you realize that mismaganement can screw with your life in a blink of an eye. Nobody who goes into teaching believes they are going to get rich - and if they do they are in the statistics of peopple who leave the field in the first 5 years. But many other districts are hurting, but were able to smooth over the damage with strong leadership and careful planning.

Anonymous said...

Achramo is a liar and will lie to your face and defend that lie as if you don't know he is lying. He cannot be trusted.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kenton - I think that the Superintendent is still with the woman from the Kenton district. She's a nice woman. He didn't cause the breakup of the marriage. Isn't the ex still working for Kenton too.

Anonymous said...

concernedparent1: The News' Sunday story makes it look like Hamburg is in the middle when it comes to managing funds, students and budgets. All districts are facing the pinch. That some districts do a better job selling the bad news is OK, but our Superintendent isn't the bad guy. He shouldn't be attacked the way he is. People should be ashamed of the things they are saying about him. Respectfully, Concerned (younger) Teacher

Anonymous said...

Younger teacher don't try to sell him here. He must be in your crib with you. Young lady you are deceiving yourself or achramo has you fooled like the rest of them.

concernedparent1 said...

I don't think that I bad mouthed the super. In fact, regardless of his past, he is new to Hamburg and is essentially cleaning up others' mess. The entire point of this blog is to make the public aware of what is happening to OUR SCHOOL DISTRICT. Perhaps younger teacher you do not live in our district, or own a home - thus do not pay taxes. I am a homeowner, a parent of school age children, and an educator myself (for almost 15 years.) This blog is not about trash talking, it is about keeping the public informed. Hopefully the public will educate themselves enough to be able to filter the facts from the fiction. Just making the people WE elect see that we are in fact informed, aware, and checking their power will hopefully allow them to see that they do not operate their own little oligarchy but work for US - the taxpayers, parents, and children of Hamburg. Yes Hamburg is not the worst of the bunch in WNY - but I pay too much in taxes, and my childrens' futures are too important to settle for mediocrity. I am happy that my children will have young, energetic teachers like you, but perhaps when you have a few more years under your belt you will be able to see the whole picture a little clearer.

Anonymous said...

Need to come to the school board meeting tomorrow at the HS. Our district will be making decisions on next years budget regarding program reductions.