Making It Work

CLYMER-Members of the Panama Central School and Clymer Central School boards of education are working toward a timeline for the proposed sharing of Bert Lictus, Panama superintendent.

With the beginning of the 2013-14 school year looming on the horizon, the boards began the process of establishing the timeline at a joint meeting held at Clymer on Monday.

“Without a timeline, there’s no sense of urgency,” said Lictus, who presented his professional profile at the meeting. “We discussed that we’d like to have things hopefully finalized for a joint meeting on Sept. 9 as a projected timeline. There were some comments that this is going to be a challenging process, but I’m looking forward to it if things can be worked out.”

Lictus said his professional profile was intended to provide a detailed look at his educational and professional background for board members in both districts who may not be familiar with his history. Prior to becoming superintendent of Panama, Lictus has held several other administrative positions within the district, including: director of student services from 2001-03, co-principal from 2003-05, secondary principal from 2005-09 and K-12 principal from 2009-10.

“There are some members, even on my own board, who weren’t here when I became superintendent (at Panama) three years ago,” he said.

His educational background, according to the professional profile, includes a bachelor’s degree in communication from Canisius College, a Master of Education in special education from Edinboro University and a Certificate of Advanced Study, also from Edinboro.

Nancy Westerburg, Clymer board president, said every board member in each district thinks positively of the notion of having Lictus represent both districts.

“We’re not saying we want to try it; we’re saying we want to make it work,” said Westerburg. “We don’t even want to use the word, ‘try.’ It’s something that we need, and it’s something we’re really willing to do. (These are) two schools with a lot of the same values. And another thing is (Lictus) is from Clymer, we’ve known him all our lives and he’s working in Panama. So it’s kind of a perfect situation for us to put this together and make it work.”

As for the establishment of a timeline, Westerburg said time is of the essence from Clymer’s standpoint.

“Clymer needs to have a timeline because we have an interim superintendent – (Karen Moon) – working for us, and she was hired to work through June of 2014. Within her contract was a paragraph about how she could get out of the contract, or we could get out of it. But we have to give her at least 30-days notice, and she’d prefer a little bit more. So, that’s one reason,” said Westerburg.

She added: “And school is starting in September, and we wouldn’t want to go too far into (the school year) without having (Lictus) in the building.”

Westerburg said the Clymer board has spent much time working on negotiating a contract with Panama. The next joint meeting between the boards of education is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 9.

The first joint meeting between the districts took place at Panama in June, when David O’Rourke, Erie 2 BOCES superintendent, presented the boards with pros and cons of a joint superintendent – based on his research. According to a comprehensive administrative compensation report for the 2013-14 school year, which was obtained from the state Education Department website, the salaries paid to the Clymer and Panama superintendents will be $112,200 and $116,812, respectively.

In a previous interview, O’Rourke said the schools that have already made the switch to a shared superintendent have reported a savings of $50,000-$60,000 on superintendent salary which, ideally, would be realized without any loss of services.