‘Better To Part Ways’
Clymer Super Cites Disagreement With Board In Resignation
CLYMER — Ed Bailey is stepping away from a position he once stepped up to fill during a time of need in the Clymer Central School District.
Bailey’s run as superintendent of the school district will effectively come to an end Sept. 30. On Tuesday, Bailey announced his resignation during a special board of education meeting. But for Bailey, he’s leaving behind a legacy that extends more than 30 years in the school district. Asked whether it was difficult for him to resign, he said “absolutely.”
“I’m obviously very attached to this district,” Bailey told The Post-Journal when reached by phone Friday.
In June, the board and the superintendent were in agreement that they looked forward to a “calm” summer and bringing a “renaissance” to the 2019-20 school year. However, with Bailey’s resignation, any potential rediscovery or rebirth of Clymer will happen without him at the helm.
Bailey cited a disagreement between the board’s vision of Clymer’s future and his own as the primary reason for resigning. The board is comprised of recently appointed Board President Ed Mulkearn, Vice President Dave Maleski, Carole Siverling, Mike Schenck and Amanda Stapels.
“It’s just one of those things we felt would be better to part ways,” Bailey said.
Bailey’s resignation and corresponding separation agreement were unanimously approved by the board Tuesday.
The agreement, obtained by The Post-Journal following a Freedom of Information Law request Friday, states that Bailey will receive a single payment of $20,000 no later than two weeks of from the resignation date. Bailey will also be afforded $3,656.25 as a separate check from the date of resignation. Bailey is also entitled to benefits laid out in his Employment Agreement in accordance to the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System.
Bailey shared with The Post-Journal a statement he read at the recent meeting: “The Clymer Central School Board of Education and I shared a common goal of providing our students the very best educational opportunity possible. That being said, there are many different ways of going about giving our students those opportunities. It became apparent this past summer that the BOE and I did not share the same vision on how to move forward with that in mind. Therefore, we have come to an amicable agreement to part ways. I’m grateful for the opportunity the school board afforded me in leading this district as their superintendent and hope only great things for this school district moving forward.”
Mulkearn echoed Bailey’s words that the split was “amicable.” When reached by phone Friday, Mulkearn said over the summer it became evident the two parties disagreed on the future of the district.
“It was very professionally handled,” Mulkearn said of the resignation process.
The board recently submitted letters of interest to both the Panama and Sherman school boards regarding shared services, a potential merger and tuitioning of students. Mulkearn said Friday that Sherman’s board responded and would like to meet with Clymer board members.
“He decided the direction we were moving wasn’t a direction he could lead us in,” Mulkearn said of Bailey.
The board will begin the interview process for an interim superintendent Tuesday with the help of David O’Rourke, Erie-2 BOCES district superintendent.
Bailey assumed the role of superintendent in Clymer following his predecessor Bert Lictus’ own resignation as shared superintendent during the 2017-18 school year. Bailey, who at the time was the school principal, was appointed as interim superintendent Jan. 8, 2018, that became effective Feb. 3, 2018. He was later given contract as superintendent through June 2021.
Under Bailey’s leadership, the district was able to pass the $11,495,924 2019-20 school budget that carried an 8.8% tax levy increase by a vote of 703 to 392. The tax levy was more than the state allowed mandate that called for a 60% voter approval.
The initial vote was denied by district voters in June that carried a much higher 13% increase, mirroring the initial 2018-19 school budget proposal that was also voted down.
“For Mr. Bailey to stick around and help us get on our feet, that was very commendable,” Mulkearn said of the recent budget passing. “No one else would have been able to do that with his connections to the community.”
Bailey began in the district as a sixth-grade teacher in 1986. Before that, he was a graduate of the class of 1982.
Bailey taught in grades fourth through sixth for 15 years at Clymer before becoming the building principal around 2001. Bailey also coached various sports throughout his time having managed girl’s basketball, football, volleyball and tennis teams until he became principal. He said coaching allowed him to have “direct connections” with the students.
For more than three decades now, Bailey has been an employee of Clymer. Come October, he’ll be released with options to retire or pursue another career path, he said.
Asked what was most memorable about his time with the district, the lifelong Clymer resident said, “What sticks out most are the individual student success stories that I had the ability to have a lot of influence on. That probably sticks out the most.”