At least one lawyer at Hodgson Russ billed the district several hundred dollars for reading the Buffalo News. Yes you read that, the taxpayers of Hamburg paid a lawyer to read the newspaper.
The priorities and values of the Hamburg School Board and Superintendent Cornell are showing their true colors as the school year kicks off with some elementary class rooms bulging with an excess of 25 children. It was reported to Concerned Hamburger that the 4th and 5th grades at Armor Elementary are cramped with students, and we all know that is not an optimal learning environment.
It seems adding a grade level class at the elementary schools, sections of classes or new electives at the secondary level are taking a back seat to the legal agenda of Mr. Cornell and his merry band of misfits.
One teacher wrote to Concerned Hamburger and asked,
" How many kids are in Tom Flynn's son's class?".
But, in replying to this query from an overwhelmed teacher, Concerned can only suggest that Mr. Flynn doesn't care how many kids are in the classrooms.
Tuesday evening at the Hamburg School Board, approval was given for a long term substitute teacher at the rate of $39,300 per year to teach Global Studies One and Global Studies Two. In Hamburg, that is the going rate for a first year teacher with Masters degree. The long term substitute Global Studies teacher was hired in late August 2016, just days before the school year started in the absence of a teacher who the board decided to keep on paid leave for the third year in a row.
Why the sudden change of teachers in late August? We have been told because the District decided to pursue MORE litigation. The losing track record doesn't seem to phase the Hamburg School Board.
Money is no object in Hamburg, except when it comes to creating an optimal learning environment for the students.
Instead of enriching the learning opportunities for the students of Hamburg, Mr. Cornell and his merry band of misfits have instead elected to enrich the profits of the partners at the Hodgson Russ Law Firm. Concerned Hamburger was forwarded the Hamburg School District legal bills for January 2016- May 2016, and the expenditures are flabbergasting.
From January to May, 2016 the school board authorized over $117,000 in legal fees paid with money that should be used in the classrooms. The legal bills,"FLEECING OF THE HAMBURG TAXPAYER" are disgusting.
Hours are billed to the district by Hodgson Russ attorneys like- Andrew Freedman, Joseph Braccio, Elizabeth McPhail, Karl Kristoff, Melanie Beardsley, Jaclyn Hamlin, Michael Risman, Aaron Saykin*, Ryan Everhart, Ryan Johnsen, Bridget Lamb, Seth Pullen, and many others, for revising, reviewing, researching, redacting and recoiling to strategize on how to build a better mouse trap.
In many instances, up to 4 lawyers at Hodgson Russ billed the Hamburg taxpayers for having internal meetings at the law firm to strategize.
If 4 lawyers meet for one hour to strategized, on, say: how to serve papers to a respondent in a legal matter, and each lawyer bills at $252.00/hour, and then 4 total hours are billed to the district, the district would need to pay over $1008.00 for the meeting.
Imagine teachers what $1000.00 could get for your classroom?
Sadly, the numbers are much larger than $1000.00. What was billed from January -May 2016 could've been used to hire three first year teachers at the rate of $39,300 per annum. In the month of January 2016, Hodgson Russ billed the district $35,227.73.
Elementary School teachers and parents ought to be outraged. Concerned Hamburger sure is. You see folks the actions of the school board and Mr. Cornell are beyond the pale. The Superintendent, who we understand is not so popular these days, and his merry band of misfits are executing the agenda of Daniel Chiacchia and his law partner Andrew Fleming. These two guys got an axe to grind, and they are grinding away, with money that is intended to educate children and a law firm at which Andrew Fleming's brother is a partner. Its the opinion of Concerned Hamburger, that's why Dan Chiacchia went over the top to run the fine Mr. Tresmond out of town, and many of the readers supported that agenda. The law firm of Hodgson Russ and the DOZENS of lawyers who have sucked the money out of the classrooms and into their pockets are not doing what is in the best interest of children.
Rather like all scavenging raptors they soar.
*Aaron Saykin, of TV news fame, bills the district exclusively for spinning tales.