District eyes negotiation with official on paid leave

ST. JOHNSVILLE – The Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District Board of Education voted Wednesday to give board President Sue Sammons and the district’s attorney the authority to request information from Superintendent Laura Lawrence, who is on paid leave.

Board Member Keith Handy said the resolution – which directs Lawrence to provide any and all information “as may be required” by the attorney – passed with full board approval.

Neil Clark, a school board member, said the resolution also allows Lawrence – who the school board placed on paid administrative leave in November for undisclosed reasons – to request any information she may need as well.

Handy said he believes this was the first step in the negotiation between the district and Lawrence.

“It is just starting to get going,” Handy said.

“There has been some communication, but that is all I can say,” Clark said, when asked about negotiations between the district and Lawrence.

In November, during a special meeting, the board voted 4-3 to have its attorneys negotiate with Lawrence in regards to her administrative leave.

Sammons could not be reached for comment.

District and school board officials have refused to say why the district placed Lawrence on paid leave. She continues to earn her $108,000-per-year salary.

Thomas Gallagher was hired by the school board in January as the new acting superintendent. Gallagher, who has previous experience as a superintendent, is scheduled to work for the district until July and be paid $500 per day.