COOPERSTOWN – Bobby Walker, a CCS senior and leader of the Otsego County Young Republicans, said he was called into the principal’s office and told to “remove” e-petitions he was circulating on behalf of Laurie Pestar, the elementary school secretary who was seeking an unpaid leave while she fights cancer.
Walker refused to do so, and asked Middle/High School Principal Donna Lucy who had told her to rein him in. “I cannot tell you,” she replied.
“We do have a voice and we will not allow ourselves to be bullied into submission,” the senior told the school board that was meeting this evening in the packed middle/high school library. (It appeared most attendees were there for their Participation in Government class.)
Editor’s Note: CCS board President Theresa Russo issued this statement this afternoon, saying a miscommunication inadvertently created the appearance of insensivity toward 30-year elementary school secretary Laurie Pestar. The matter has now been resolved to the family’s satisfaction she said.
On behalf of the Cooperstown Central School Board of Education, we apologize for what appeared to be an insensitive response to Mrs. Pestar’s situation.
While it is true that on our meeting of Nov. 2, 2016, we denied the unpaid leave request, we did so with the specific understanding that there was an alternate and more beneficial plan presented to Mrs. Pestar and her family.
COOPERSTOWN – The CCS Board of Education has arranged an accommodation that is satisfactory to cancer-fighter Laurie Pestar and her family, board President Theresa Russo said a few moments ago.
The school board had been challenged at Wednesday’s meeting by Mrs. Pestar’s son, Jeremy Denmeade, for a brief and impersonal letter the 30-year elementary school secretary had received advising her a six-month unpaid leave she had sought was denied.
Mrs. Russo said today that “bad communications” had caused a form letter to be mailed before conversations had occurred between the administration, the bargaining unit that represents non-teaching staff, and Mrs. Pestar’s family.
COOPERSTOWN – Two CCS students report they have created an online petition urging the school board to grant a six-month unpaid leave of absence to Laurie Pestar, the 30-year elementary school secretary who is fighting cancer.
Senior Bobby Walker said he and a friend, McGuire Benton, collected 655 signatures today alone, and plan to deliver the petition at the next school board meeting, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14, in the middle/high school library.
Mrs. Pestar’s son, Jeremy Denmeade, a Marine, and 20 friends and colleagues appeared at last evening’s school board meeting, expressing disappointment at the board’s decision, particularly at what they termed was the cold and impersonal letter telling her the news.