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Nobody wins in the debate over the blog site

In an evening where one of the main questions should be, how can you improve the educational quality of the Hamburg School District, the focus often shifted to the mention of lawsuits and a blog site that is aimed at the Hamburg Central School District.

On Monday night (May 13), the League of Women Voters oversaw the annual Meet the Candidates night at Charlotte Avenue School. It was a forum for the seven interested people seeking the three seats open on the Hamburg School Board could answer questions from the public about why they are the best candidates.

Recently the Hamburg Central School District gave Google a subpoena in an attempt to find out who runs the Hamburg Educational Ethics blog. It is tied into a lawsuit against current board member Sally Stephenson, her daughter Lyndsey and teacher Martha Kavanaugh, whom the district is suing in regards to their alleged connection to the taping of an executive session which occurred in September of 2010.

The site talks about goings on in the Hamburg Central School District, and depicts Superintendent Steven Achramovitch with a picture of Pinochio, and uses the photos of board members cut and paste onto different backgrounds, including a cheerleader and the movie cover of “Dr. Dolittle.”

We understand why the school district feels compelled to go to court over an issue they feel is of the utmost importance, which is to protect the integrity of executive sessions.

They feel they were wronged and the court of law will ultimately decide the outcome.

Why go after a blog site?

We certainly do not condone a lot of what is on the site. But as much as this fight involves protecting the rights of executive sessions, there is also freedom of speech rights which are at stake.

It is a blog, written by someone anonymous. So take it for what it’s worth.

Not only does nobody win, but more and more, the focus goes away from the students and teachers, who through the years have made Hamburg a top flight school district.

Is this what we want the Hamburg School District to be known for?

A district going after the words of an anonymous writer, who is trying to stir up the school district and its residents?

In the meantime, how about we start focusing more on providing the best quality education for our students and less on a site containing the opinions of a person or persons who would rather keep their identities hidden.

• Speaking of school board elections, we are less than a week away from the 2013 budget and trustee votes, which will take place on Tuesday, May 21.

The Sun has two districts, Hamburg and Eden, with contested races, two, North Collins and Lake Shore, with uncontested races, and one, Frontier, who have no school board seats up for election (residents voted to downsize the board during the 2012 election from nine to seven members). Nancy Wood and Jeremey Rosen’s seats will be eliminated starting July 1, when their terms end.

It is important to get out and vote, as district’s budgets must be decided.

• We would like to wish former Hamburg Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Betty Newell the best in her retirement.

It has been a big week for Newell as she was honored at the Hamburg Town Board meeting Monday night (May 13), and the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce honored her during a luncheon on Wednesday, May 15.

Newell has been an integral part of the community for many years, seen everywhere from farmer’s markets to other functions around town. All of the recognition she has received is well deserved.


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