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Clymer Faces Some Big Shoes To Fill In Bailey’s Departure

It’s unfortunate that a fairly clear path forward for the Clymer Central School District will have to take place without Ed Bailey, who resigned last week as district superintendent.

Bailey has a long, distinguished history with the district starting as a member of the graduating class of 1982 and becoming a sixth-grade teacher in the district in 1986. He taught fourth- through sixth-graders for 15 years and coached several sports before becoming a building principal. He spent nearly two decades as a principal and, for the more than a year, served as superintendent after Bert Lictus resigned from the district.

Lictus previously had been a superintendent shared between Clymer and Panama who left when it became apparent to him that his philosophy for the future of Clymer Central School was different from that of the Clymer community and some members of the Clymer school board. Lictus favored a merger between Panama and Clymer, which made sense given the number of shared positions between the districts at the time.

Given that it was Clymer taxpayers who turned down the proposed merger with Panama, Bailey’s selection as interim superintendent following Lictus’ resignation made sense. If there was one familiar face with which Clymer residents could identify, it was Ed Bailey. The bulk of Bailey’s time as superintendent was spent dealing with the fallout from the failed merger. The district had two large tax levy increases in the past two years that were initially voted down by district residents before changes were made to lessen the increases and eventually garner approval from voters.

Now, Clymer board members have sent letters of interest to the Panama and Sherman school boards regarding shared services, a potential merger and tuitioning of students. It is understandable that moving into another merger was not something Bailey favored after what he and the district had been through over the past two years.

Bailey’s hiring made sense in the aftermath of the merger’s failure. He is, essentially, Mr. Clymer. It’s worth wondering how Clymer residents will view a merger or tuitioning of students. Bailey is a fixture in Clymer, so it is entirely possible that Bailey’s apprehension about a merger or the other options on the table are shared by many in the Clymer community. If so, school board members should be prepared for a lot of long nights and lengthy community conversations over the next few years as they try to pursue their vision for Clymer’s future. It may not be an easy sell.

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