BROCTON - The recent meeting of the Brocton Board of Education was routine until it came to the public comment section.
Brocton district resident James Walter, who attended the preceding joint meeting with the Westfield Board of Education, was prepared with handouts he was willing to share with all people at the joint meeting. He gave handouts to board members from Westfield as well as the consultants for the centralization study as they left the Brocton auditorium. Another district resident made sure all those sitting at the board table as well as the residents who stayed for the Brocton board meeting received a copy.
The four-page handout consisted of a page from a mailing sent out by the Brocton Central School District before last May's budget vote, Walter's own calculations which lead him to believe that the district has $2,650,000 missing over the past three years, and a photo copy of part of an OBSERVER article dated May 19, 2011 which contained a report of Walter questioning the expenditure for buses.
OBSERVER Photo by Diane R. Chodan
Left to right: Brocton Superintendent John Hertlein and Brocton resident James Walter after the recent board of education meeting was adjourned. Walter is entering his name and phone number on a list so that Hertlein can get back to him about his concerns with Brocton’s budget over the last four years.
Saying that he had used the board's own figures to arrive at his estimate of missing money, he demanded an explanation from the board.
Board member Dave Hazelton said that the board may have been able to better answer if Walter had submitted the figures ahead of time for review.
District Superintendent John Hertlein suggested Walter speak to him at a later time. Walter replied that Hertlein did not get back to him in the past. Walter also said the board had "shut him off in the past."
After some more exchange, Board President Thomas DeJoe used his gavel and told Walter that the discussion was closed.
Walter asked DeJoe, "Why is your voice shaking; are you afraid of me?"
A female district resident asked why the board could not answer the questions.
Arthur Donovan, Brocton resident and village trustee, addressed the board asking, "How can you shut someone off? This is America!"
Board member Doug Walter explained that in the past Walter had used inappropriate language and was ruled out of order.
Superintendent Hertlein asked those concerned to sign up for an explanation of the budget figures after he and Business Officer Betty DeLand had a chance to review James Walter's figures.
The meeting was adjourned.
After the meeting, DeLand was heard to say loudly that there was no missing money, and that the audits of the district were in her office.
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