Current and former Schenectady city school board members reacting to evidence presented Friday in the Steven Raucci trial say that drastic changes in the way the school district is run may be needed.
“I’m extremely disheartened and very concerned about the things being revealed, and I think it’s time that we start to look to turn around the district,” Schenectady School Board President Maxine Brisport said Saturday night. “That may mean making some drastic changes at various levels of the school district.”
Raucci, 61, is facing felony charges, including terrorism and arson, related to allegations about misconduct while he was facilities supervisor for the school district and local union president.
Evidence presented in the Raucci trial on Friday stated that School Superintendent Eric Ely sent an e-mail to Raucci in July 2008 giving him a “heads up” that Raucci was the target of a criminal investigation. District e-mails are being used by the prosecution to portray Raucci as engaged in intimidating behavior but also relate to the level of awareness that other officials, including Ely, had of his activities.
Former school board member Joyce Wachala told The Gazette that she hopes once the trial with Raucci is resolved, criminal charges against other members of the administration will be brought forward. She resigned from the board in 2009 for family reasons.
Wachala said Ely should be held accountable, specifically the e-mail he sent to Raucci warning him that he was being investigated. Statements made in the trial do not constitute formal allegations against Ely or any other official.
“I thought that there was something legally that he has to be held accountable for. Maybe there should be some other criminal charges against other members of the administration. Everyone that is involved in this has to be held accountable. That’s what I’m hoping,” Wachala said.
Wachala also said that since the Raucci trial is showing that “there are other people in the administration that did illegal things,” the state Attorney General’s office or the Commissioner of Education should step in and investigate.
“I think that this problem is far reaching, and we need an unbiased entity to come in and help out the school district,” Wachala said.
The Raucci trial resumes Monday morning.