Turmoil and dissension in the Hamburg Central School District reached a new level when the superintendent discovered his car had been vandalized and a threatening note left on it while he was attending a board meeting Tuesday night.
Superintendent Richard E. Jetter left Union-Pleasant Elementary School at about 8 p.m. after the School Board’s annual budget hearing.
He walked to his car and noticed the driver’s side door had been damaged by another vehicle, but there were no other vehicles near his car at the time.
He also discovered a white folded piece of paper on his windshield with a typed message that read “Watch your back” and called him a “sleeze (sic) bag.”
Those in the parking lot who left with Jetter included board members and district staffers, as well as Hamburg Mayor Thomas J. Moses Sr., who had attended the board hearing. All were horrified.
Moses and Boston Valley Principal James Martinez, who is the district’s safety officer, called village police, who are investigating the incident.
The note was below a purple flier a board candidate had placed on the windshields of vehicles in the parking lot.
Jetter, two administrators, three board members and the mayor stood around the car in disbelief, shaking their heads and disturbed by the threat.
The incident is the latest in a beleaguered school district that is struggling to overcome notoriety for actions taking place outside the classroom.
Tension on the School Board and in the district have increased in recent months, as board factions emerged, members switched sides, and parents formed a community group that has advocated removing three board members.
The School Board took its own action last week, voting, 4-2, to charge board member Catherine Schrauth Forcucci with official misconduct in a meeting that saw a nearly full auditorium applaud the board’s action.
Tuesday’s budget hearing, in contrast, was sparsely attended and attracted just one question on a budget that calls for layoffs and cuts in funding to several programs. Sixteen people attended the meeting, many of them administrators and staffers in the district and several others who are running for two seats on the School Board.
The budget will result in higher elementary class sizes, cuts in foreign languages, elimination of intramurals and restructuring the guidance, detention and music programs next year. A total of 16.6 full-time positions would be eliminated, most through attrition. There would be a reduction in full-time staff of 4.8 positions.