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Hamburg School District and the village look to resolve parking issue

Vehicles parked along North Street during school hours has caused a lot of issues for residents.
The long-standing issue regarding Hamburg High School students parking and congregating on North Street is one that both school officials and village administrators appear to be facing head-on in an attempt to curb alleged inappropriate behavior.

Hamburg Central School District Superintendent Steven Achramovitch stated at last Tuesday’s (Sept. 11) meeting that he and other school officials would meet Thursday (Sept. 13) with village administrators, including Hamburg Village Mayor Thomas Moses, at Hamburg High in an attempt to further formulate a specific plan to outline acceptable student parking and actions and to additionally quell concerns of neighborhood residents. Peter Danforth, who serves as the chairperson of the Village of Hamburg’s Traffic Safety Committee, said the committee and other individuals have been involved in investigating the aforementioned issue for more than a year, stemming initially from a phone call made from a resident who complained about unruly students smoking and using loud profanity on North while parked on the street, and additionally reacting in a nasty manner toward individuals who requested these youths stop such behavior. The Traffic Safety Committee was said to have surveyed local residents in an attempt to gain feedback into related items.

Danforth added Tuesday that it was stated at the Sept. 4 Hamburg Village Board meeting that a special committee, consisting of two North Street residents and a member from the Village Police Department, the Hamburg School District, the Village Board and the Traffic Safety Committee, will be formed to help generate an outlined plan.

“It’s a serious matter and it’s something we have to get resolved,” Danforth said of the student parking issue.

It was stated at the Sept. 4 village board meeting that Hamburg High students who parked on North regularly blocked residents’ driveways and walked in the roadway, while using extremely offensive, vulgar language and littering. A petition with about 65 signatures had additionally been generated, a document that requested action be taken regarding the matter.

North Street residents who spoke Tuesday said that through the first week of the 2012-13 academic year- although issues still exist, there has been an overall improvement regarding student parking and behavior, thanks mostly to the steady presence of police officers and school administrators who enforce proper regulations. Nancy Connell additionally suggested that school officials place a limit on the amount of parking passes that are issued to Hamburg High seniors, a number stated to be 80. Connell added that she recently observed a group of students standing on the corner of North and Division streets at around 10 a.m., congregating for approximately 10 to 15 minutes while smoking cigarettes.

Fellow North Street resident Dave Grasso said overall student behavior is improving in comparison to “out of control” antics shown by youths during 2011-12.

“Hopefully it’ll continue to go in that (direction),” said Grasso, one of two individuals who at the village board’s Sept.4 meeting had volunteered to be a North Street member of the special committee.

Also Tuesday, the district was recognized for receiving an Environmental Stewardship Award through its Energy Conservation Program, as Energy Education Specialist Kaci Nowadly commended the board for its resourcefulness in savings.

As part of year one of the program, Nowadly stated, Hamburg generated a total energy savings of $90,496. Goals of the program were noted to be eliminating energy waste, maintaining the comfort and safety of the surrounding environment and saving money in the face of the rough economic climate. An independent software program, titled EnergyCap, was said to be used and reviewed by district staff, and adjustments in weather changes, building square footage and other areas were made.

A partnership was noted to have been formed with Energy Star, a move that garnered various environmental benefits. Additional district savings amounts included 472,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, to go along with a total avoided use of 4,013 cubic feet of gas.

Tuesday’s meeting did not feature the same amount of district officials’ stated disagreements as that of previous meetings, although a discussion item of Policy No. 3180, regarding school district standards and guidelines for Web Page Publishing, was brought up under agenda reports.

Board Member Holly Balaya encouraged fellow district officials to not use specific individuals’ names on such sites, adding that points could be made without name usage. Fellow Board Member Sally Stephenson said using a specific individual’s name on a district site cannot be done without first conducting a board vote that is approved through majority, with additional signed consent.

Several audience members asked district officials to work together in a more cohesive manner, to help identify and correct more pertinent problems facing those learning in the district.

A pair of district parents expressed dismay with their observations of class sizes at Hamburg Middle School being allegedly as high as 31 students in a section of English and 28 in advanced mathematics.

Additionally, Achramovitch noted that the start of the 2012-13 academic year yielded findings of kindergarten having a decrease of 38 students from 2011-12, as well as the Hamburg High senior class dropping to 280 students in the 2012-13 school year from 318 in 2011-12.

The next meeting of the Hamburg Central School Board will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 6 in the Hamburg Middle School cafeteria, located at 360 Division St.


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