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Hoping that positives comes from negatives

The Hamburg Central Teachers Association made their voices loud and clear last Friday (Jan. 11) when they overwhelmingly voted against approving the district’s proposed Annual Professional Performance Review, with 73 percent of the teachers turning away the plan the district hoped to send to the State Education Department by the Jan. 17 deadline.

Instead, the district and the union have been working to try and reach a new agreement with the deadline days away. If the two sides do not reach a pact, it could mean a loss of as much as $450,000 in state aid to the Hamburg Central School District.

If this comes to fruition, a district which let go many talented teachers a year ago during a difficult season, may be forced to let go even more this year.

This entire process has the board and Superintendent Steven A. Achramovitch under the gun.

No matter what the reason is, the plan should have been finished sooner. It should not have come to this and if the district loses out on any amount of state aid, then this comes down on the administration.

The teachers union made their point loud and clear. They are not happy with what has transpired, and now the district needs to fix what is broken. They need to examine what went wrong in this process and start the process of finding the solution to the problem immediately.

In the end, who gets hurt the most? The students, who could face the possibility of more teacher cuts and more programs cut as the district is also preparing for budget season to head into full swing.

Districts are already facing difficult enough decisions in trying to develop a budget that is balanced, provides a good education for students and does not add a major tax burden to residents.

The bottom line is the Jan. 17 deadline to have the APPR finalized was not something that the district did not know about, and no matter the outcome, it should never have come down to this.

Like the business of education, it is about learning and hopefully this entire process can be an educational experience for those involved.

When this process is finished, start planning on how to get this completed for 2014.

At least out of all of this negativity, let a “teaching moment” come from it.

When a large majority of nearly 300 teachers who voted against the APPR said no and put jobs on the line, that clearly means something went wrong throughout the process.

What we can hope for now is that a year from now, mistakes can be learned from and there will be no repeat of what has taken place.

• Fair is fair and while we are quick to criticize, we also take pride in being fair when there are positive things taking place.

The Hamburg Town Board has certainly taken its share of criticism for the way a lot of meetings have been conducted in the last few years.

With two meetings in the books so far in 2013, we need to point out that overall, things have been positive at these meetings. The way the board has conducted themselves have been much more civil and we hope this trend continues throughout the year.

Supervisor Steven Walters, Councilwoman Amy Ziegler and Councilman Joseph Collins are three very bright people with a lot to offer constituents.

To date, between the organizational meeting and Monday’s (Jan. 14) town board meeting, there have been approximately 85 resolutions, and Collins has only voted against one and abstained for three others.

These meetings have been productive and moved along swiftly. There has not been arguing and Walters and Collins even shared a couple light hearted moments about the College Football Championship game, where their alma mater, Notre Dame, played. Keep up the good work. Great way to start 2013.


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