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Hamburg School Board votes to not place teacher on administrative leave

HAMBURG — Action during a meeting of the Hamburg School Board, last night, included a proposed motion to bring to the agenda an item regarding the employment status of a district teacher, an individual who was not identified by the district, but who was stated by parents as being Martha Kavanaugh (who has been on sick leave since October).

The item included a motion to place the teacher on paid administrative leave, but the measure did not garner the necessary four board votes; a 3 – 2 vote in support of the motion fell short of this provision, as board members Thomas Flynn, Laura Heeter and Patricia Brunner-Collins voted in favor of the item.

Board President David Yoviene and Board Member Catherine Schrauth Forcucci cast dissenting votes, while Board Vice President Sally Stephenson and board Member Holly Balaya abstained.

The audience in Union Pleasant Elementary School auditorium voiced displeasure with the motion’s falling short of action, as one woman asked, “Where’s my son’s vote?” and another attendee called, “Where’s our vote?”

Schrauth Forcucci asked for discussion regarding the policy of prohibiting individuals from entering the Hamburg Administration Building on Abbott Road, in regard to her recently being denied entry into the facility, despite what she noted to be “needed business there.”

Interim District Superintendent Richard Jetter responded that he has the right, under the district’s code of conduct policy, to facilitate control over the administration building, to uphold safety. That sentiment drew applause from the audience.

Earlier this school year, Hamburg police had been called to the administration building, following an incident in which Schrauth Forcucci had been present and described by police as “disruptive.”

The board also approved a resolution to pay to defend Stephenson and Balaya against a petition to remove the two district officials from the board, an item brought to the state commissioner of education by local attorney Daniel Chiacchia.
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