Clymer superintendent resigns, but will remain at Panama School

CLYMER – Bert Lictus, shared superintendent of Clymer and Panama school districts, resigned from his position as Clymer superintendent during a board meeting on Tuesday night.

The Clymer Board of Education accepted Lictus’ resignation as superintendent of Clymer, a position he held for several years, that will be effective as of Feb. 2, 2018. He will hold the superintendent position for Clymer until then. Lictus only resigned from the Clymer position, and indicated he would remain the superintendent for Panama.

“This has been a very trying time,” Lictus said prior to reading his letter of resignation, “because of that I’ve had to make some decisions personally and professionally.”

Lictus referred to the merger study that was conducted between Panama and Clymer school districts as the primary reason for his resignation.

Panama and Clymer recently engaged in a consolidation study that was approved by both boards of education and New York state. As per regulations in New York state, both communities were required to hold an advisory referendum, also known as a straw vote, prior to a binding statutory referendum, commonly referred to as the final vote. The straw vote took place on Nov. 13. Panama approved the merger process to continue and voted 192 in favor and 168 against. In Clymer, however, there was a different story with 186 voting in favor and 654 voting against the merger.

The board meeting primarily focused on planning the next steps in preparing for next year’s school budget, but during the routinely scheduled superintendent’s report, Lictus proceeded to read a statement.

“As you’re aware during the course of last year Clymer Central School has engaged in a detailed fact finding process to look at how we could move forward in today’s competitive educational landscape,” Lictus said to the board members. “Most are aware that I supported and believed that centralization would be in the best interest of Clymer Central School and the students it serves. It was made abundantly clear that the community and the board of education may not agree with my vision for this district.

“Therefore, it is with heavy heart that I read this letter,” Lictus continued. “I believe it is in the best interest of the school and the Clymer community that I no longer lead the district as it moves forward. I’m requesting the cancellation of the municipal agreement allowing the sharing of the school superintendent between Clymer Central School and Panama Central School to be effective at the end of business, Feb. 2, 2018. I want to thank the board of education and the Clymer community for giving me this wonderful opportunity to serve the students and families of Clymer Central School, respectfully submitted, Bert Lictus.”

Silence fell over the board members as they appeared to be stunned by this development, but they quickly regrouped and followed board meeting procedure and approved Lictus’ resignation.

“Thank you for your service,” Ed Mulkearn, board member, said.

To which Lictus simply replied, “thank you.”