Mont Pleasant Middle School students got near Steven Raucci’s facilities office at the school at least twice, according to district emails.
It was the same office in which a live explosive device would be found after Raucci’s February 2009 arrest.
In both incidents, students weren’t supposed to be in the area and it is unknown if Raucci had the explosive device or others in his office during the incidents, but one occurred in November 2006, just nine days before Raucci placed a similar device on the car of then Athletic Director Gary DiNola.
The explosive device was the focus of fears in the days after Raucci’s arrest. Superintendent Eric Ely at that time argued that Raucci’s office was in a remote area of the building that children couldn’t access.
But on Nov. 21, 2006, students were near Raucci’s Mont Pleasant Middle School office frequently enough for Raucci to write the school principal, Gary Comley, that they had reached “a critical tolerance point” regarding students in the facilities area.
“Just yesterday, I was conducting a very important meeting within the Facilities Office, in which we had to stop the meeting due to the obnoxious behaviors just outside my office in the hallway,” Raucci wrote Comley. “This was not an isolated incident.”
On Nov. 30, 2006, nine days later, Raucci left an explosive device on DiNola’s car at his Saratoga County home, the culmination of a school district-related dispute.
No information was given at Raucci’s arson trial last year about where Raucci had the 2006 device in the days leading up to the incident.
On Feb. 18, 2009, Raucci showed another device to an old friend who turned police informant. Knowing the device was at the school, investigators couldn’t risk allowing students to return from the February break with the device there. Raucci was arrested soon after.
Raucci, 62, was convicted in April 2010 of first-degree arson and 17 other counts, including possessing the explosive device in his office.
Raucci served as the city school district facilities manager and also led the union unit representing the workers he supervised. It was a dual position that prosecutors said made him valuable to the school administration for his ability to keep labor peace.
The prosecution charged that Raucci was responsible for numerous criminal acts, including placing bombs on homes or cars in a series of incidents intended to intimidate people he perceived as enemies or enemies of his friends.
In another incident involving students referenced in emails in April 2008, a 10th-grader was arrested for allegedly trespassing at the school. She’d been told to leave an after-school event, but was later found in the building. A door was found jarred near Raucci’s area.
“It aggravates me to no end that these kids are so bold and have the audacity to go into your area of the school,” then-Mont Pleasant Principal Nicola DiLeva wrote to Raucci.
Also in the emails reviewed by The Daily Gazette Monday were a series between Raucci and the Human Resources Director Michael Stricos, which showed Raucci settling into his dual role as union head and supervisor, and demonstrating the benefits of that for the administration.
Raucci was elected president of the bargaining unit representing the workers he supervised in 2001. By 2003, he was head utility worker, overseeing more than 100 employees.
On Sept. 11, 2003, Raucci wrote Stricos, copying Assistant Superintendent for Business Michael San Angelo and two others, that he was satisfied with changing a cleaner’s hours at Zoller Elementary School “in order to meet the needs of the district.”
“I do not want the job posted and I will handle the union issue of it not being posted,” Raucci wrote, “and whatever other issues may arise out of this change of schedule with [name deleted].”
Raucci, as head of facilities, also served on search committees for assistant superintendents.
In one 2005 search, Raucci suggested to Stricos in November a question for assistant superintendent applicants: “If appointed, could you accept and work with Steve Raucci?”