Payout to educator: $250K

OPPENHEIM – Former Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District Superintendent Laura Lawrence, who was placed on paid leave in November for undisclosed reasons and resigned last month, will receive around $250,000 over the next two years, plus health insurance.

According to a settlement agreement between the school district and Lawrence, who resigned April 23, she will receive a lump-sum payment of $21,250 for April 18 to June 30 and $7,500 for accrued vacation, sick and personal time.

She also will receive salary payments totaling $112,500 for July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015, and $114,500 for July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016.

According to the settlement, if Lawrence gets another job that pays more than $112,500 on or after Dec. 31, 2015, the district’s payments to Lawrence would cease, except for the difference in salary if she earns less than $114,500.

The settlement says Lawrence must make an effort to find comparable employment within a 50-mile radius of her Mohawk home.

All payments are guaranteed up to Dec. 30, 2015, regardless of any other employment by Lawrence. If Lawrence were to die before June 2015, the payments would go to her beneficiaries.

The district also will pay for 90 percent of Lawrence’s health insurance, dental insurance and eye and prescription drug costs for the rest of her life, unless she finds comparable employment and her new employer offers insurance in retirement with Lawrence’s cost no greater than 15 percent, according to the settlement.

Any employment records at OESJ regarding Lawrence will be sealed, the settlement states.

According to OESJ Board of Education President Sue Sammons, the district is ready to move forward.

“My concern is that it is behind us, we can move on,” Sammons said.

Sammons said Interim Superintendent Thomas Gallagher has helped move the district forward, and the district can improve itself.

According to OESJ board member Neil Clark, the district has enough money in its debt- services fund to cover the cost of the settlement.

“We have it covered where it is not going to affect any programming or anything,” Clark said. “It has been a difficult situation, which we can now put behind us.”

“This was an agreement that pleased both sides,” board member Keith Handy said.

Lawrence was placed on paid administrative leave in November 2013 after a board vote of 4-3 for unspecified reasons.

Lawrence has been receiving her salary of $110,500 a year while on leave.

The district hired Gallagher in January. He is paid $500 per day.

Lawrence was named superintendent last May. She served as the St. Johnsville Central School superintendent from the beginning of the 2012-13 school year and as deputy superintendent before that. Before becoming superintendent, she was the principal at St. Johnsville’s elementary school.

Neither Lawrence nor Gallagher could be reached for comment Thursday.