Pushing for peace in South Sudan, Pope Francis visits nation in shambles     What China wanted out of Blinken’s now postponed visit     Ukraine live briefing: E.U. leaders in Kyiv make no promises for membership; Germany moves to export tanks     Pushing for peace in South Sudan, Pope Francis visits nation in shambles     What China wanted out of Blinken’s now postponed visit     Ukraine live briefing: E.U. leaders in Kyiv make no promises for membership; Germany moves to export tanks     North Korea, family and soup: The inspiration for a 26-year odyssey      Hong Kong offers 500,000 free plane tickets to lure tourists back     Killing of top ISIS militant casts spotlight on group’s broad reach in Africa     Pushing for peace in South Sudan, Pope Francis visits nation in shambles     What China wanted out of Blinken’s now postponed visit     Ukraine live briefing: E.U. leaders in Kyiv make no promises for membership; Germany moves to export tanks     Pushing for peace in South Sudan, Pope Francis visits nation in shambles     What China wanted out of Blinken’s now postponed visit     Ukraine live briefing: E.U. leaders in Kyiv make no promises for membership; Germany moves to export tanks     North Korea, family and soup: The inspiration for a 26-year odyssey      Hong Kong offers 500,000 free plane tickets to lure tourists back     Killing of top ISIS militant casts spotlight on group’s broad reach in Africa     
SUBSCRIBE MY PROFILE
HOME | BREAKING NEWS | IN MEMORIAM | PEOPLE | OPINION |
 JOBS  
 DINING & ENTERTAINMENT  
 HOMES  
 CARS  
 FUNERAL HOMES  
 GOODS & SERVICES

News of Otsego County

Theresa Carlin

WOLF: Law is Clear: Public Has Right To Know
Letter from Peter Wolf

Law is Clear: Public
Has Right To Know

Former school superintendent Theresa Carlin stated, “I’d love to comment and share the story, but am not able due to the NDA …” (Non-Disclosure Agreement).

When a public employee resigns from a position and taxpayers are obligated to pay the employee’s salary and health benefits for an additional year, the public has a right to know what happened.

Supt. Carlin and the school district entered into a “Release and Resignation Agreement.” The agreement indicated that the superintendent was withdrawing the complaint she filed through the State Division of Human Rights and was resigning her position. The agreement states further that it is a confidential communication between the school district and the superintendent. Neither party is allowed to disseminate or release information regarding the agreement unless required by law.

FOIL Request Results Demystify Super’s Abrupt Resignation

FOIL Request Results Demystify Super’s Abrupt Resignation

By DARLA M. YOUNGS
SCHENEVUS

The road ahead continues to be rocky for Schenevus Central School District, as documents requested via the New York State Freedom of Information Law reveal former superintendent Theresa Carlin had filed a complaint through the state’s Division of Human Rights against the district. According to its website, the New York State Division of Human Rights “is dedicated to eliminating discrimination, remedying injustice, and promoting equal opportunity, access, and dignity through enforcement of the Human Rights Law.”

According to the “Release and Resignation Agreement” secured through a FOIL request by Schenevus Central School taxpayer Nicole Miskell to the district, “It is expressly understood and agreed that Ms. Carlin withdraws the complaint filed by Ms. Carlin through the State Division of Human Rights under Case No.: 10218738.”

The agreement also states, “It is understood and agreed that this settlement is a compromise of disputed claims and is not to be construed as an admission of liability on the part of any persons named herein, including the Schenevus Central School District, its officers, Board Members, employees, agents.

“The agreement is not to be considered or construed as an admission of a liability on the part of the above-named persons, nor is it an admission that the District, its officers, Board Members, employees, or agents took any unlawful act or that its conduct in any way violated any State, Federal or Local Law, Rule, or Regulation.”

In a missive delivered to the Schenevus Board of Education and released as part of the FOIL request, Carlin wrote, “I am resigning from my position as Superintendent of Schools effective December 31, 2022 contingent upon the signed and adopted separation agreement dated December 27, 2022. I am resigning from my position with regret as I have enjoyed working with the students and staff of Schenevus for the past 4-1/2 years but take with me a great deal of knowledge and experience from my time at Schenevus.”

According to the agreement, the district will pay Carlin the salary of $137,000.00 through December 31, 2023 on a biweekly schedule and will compensate Carlin for 30 unused vacation days and 30 unused sick days, “on or before January 15, 2023, at the rate of 1/240th of Ms. Carlin’s salary.” Other stipulations of the agreement focus on the terms of health, dental and vision insurance, and retiree coverage.

“In exchange for the agreement contained herein and the promises and covenants contained herein,” the document reads, “Theresa Carlin, on behalf of herself and her family, agents, executors, administrators, heirs and assigns, shall fully release and forever discharges the Schenevus Central School District, the Board of Education thereof, and all officers, employees, and agents of the District, as well as its predecessors, successors and assigns, from any and all claims, complaints, causes of action, whatsoever exist as of the date of this agreement.”

The agreement reached between Carlin and the Board of Education regards the release and resignation as confidential and a privileged communication between the parties. Neither party is allowed to disseminate or release information regarding the agreement except to “Ms. Carlin’s immediate family, her attorneys or her accountants provided that this confidentiality provision shall not be construed to prohibit a disclosure required by law.”

Carlin may, however, discuss and respond to questions regarding the agreement with a potential employer and/or search consultant, so long as she makes no statement disparaging of the district, the Board of Education or employees of the district.

Finally, point 13 of the agreement reads, “It is understood and agreed that Theresa Carlin waives and releases any and all claims which she had, may have, or have at the present time, up to the date of this agreement for any claim related to age discrimination or discrimination in violation of … the ADEA [Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967].

Miskell had requested this and other documents as per Freedom of Information Law, to determine why the district had hired a second law firm.

“My interest was sparked initially back in April or May of 2022. It was brought up at a board meeting that a special counsel had been hired by the Board of Education, and I wanted to know what that was about. If taxpayers are paying for a special counsel, we deserve to know why,” Miskell recalled.

Then rumors about a lawsuit begin to circulate.

“I’ve had to FOIL constantly to get information being withheld from the taxpayers. First I received vague information on the board paying over $10,000 on special counsel. After reviewing Theresa Carlin’s agreement with the board, it’s now clear the two were related,” Miskell continued.

“I FOIL documents once a month now, because it is the only way to get information. If I ask questions, I don’t get answers,” Miskell said.

Miskell also researched the process of petitioning for a revote on the Schenevus/Worcester school district merger originally rejected by Schenevus residents on December 1, 2021 by a vote of 509-254. She submitted a petition calling for a revote on December 2.

According to the Schenevus Central School website: “The district has received an order, signed by Commissioner Rosa, setting the date of the merger annexation revote. The revote will take place on February 15, 2023. Please continue to check the website for updates concerning this revote. Also check the Voting Information page on what needs to be done to obtain [an] absentee ballot.”

Carlin’s term at Schenevus was riddled with problems. Stepping into the role of superintendent in 2018, she inherited a financial crisis—the district was facing a deficit of $750,000.00, with no money in savings or reserves. This ultimately prompted the grant-funded study which recommended that Schenevus and Worcester should merge, followed by a contentious lead-up to the Schenevus vote.

In a recent interview, Carlin said the Schenevus Central School District’s annual operating budget is $9 million and confirmed that the $2 million in reserves secured during her administration would not make a difference if the school were to find itself in financial trouble again.

“I was seen as pro-merger,” Carlin explained, “but I simply promoted what the data showed me to be a good idea.”

None of the members of the Schenevus Board of Education, or Theresa Carlin, had responded to inquiries as of press time.

Editor’s Note: Theresa Carlin reached out to our office on Wednesday morning, January 18. She had not seen the original message inviting her to comment. This is what Carlin had to say: “I’d love to give a comment and share the story, but am not able due to the NDA, but want to stress how much I miss the students and staff.”

Former Supervisor Sets Record Straight, Reflects on Future

Former Supervisor Sets Record
Straight, Reflects on Future

Merger Revote Petition Filed

By DARLA M. YOUNGS
SCHENEVUS – Schenevus Central School District Superintendent Theresa Carlin resigned during a special Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, December 27, effective December 31. Carlin stepped down just over a year after Schenevus taxpayers voted against a proposed merger with Worcester Central School. The merger had been approved in a straw vote held by both districts in September 2021, but Schenevus residents ultimately opposed the merger on December 1, 2021 amid much contention.

“I was not fired, I wasn’t going to be fired. This was my decision,” Carlin said during a telephone interview last Friday.
Nor did the failed merger have any bearing on Carlin’s resignation.

“I would have resigned anyway,” Carlin explained. “Part of my decision to leave is because I want to be in a different place, doing different things.”

Schenevus and Worcester schools look ahead after merger vote fails

Schenevus and Worcester schools look ahead after merger vote fails

By Kevin Limiti

After community members voted down the Schenevus-Worcester schools merger on December 2, disappointment and a feeling of missed opportunity permeated in those who supported the union of their respective districts.

The final tally showed 70 percent of Schenevus community members voting against the merger. Worcester voters, on the other hand, voted to approve by a 64 percent – 36 percent margin.

State Senator Peter Oberacker (R-Schenevus) told The Freeman’s Journal/Hometown Oneonta that he would work in Albany to find more funding in next year’s state budget.

Schenevus-Worcester merger voted down in split vote

Worcester Central School would have served grades 6 through 12 had the merger vote been successful. (Facebook)

Schenevus-Worcester merger voted down in split vote

The Schenevus-Worcester merger, which would have combined the Schenevus Central School district into the Worcester Central School district, ended in defeat after a majority of Schenevus district members voted against it, ending a tumultuous two year process that polarized their respective communities.

The results came in late Wednesday night with Schenevus CSD voting 509 against the merger to 254 in favor.

Worcester CSD members voted to approve the merger by 298 to 162.

Worcester, Schenevus merger up for December 1 vote

Worcester Central School would serve grades 6 through 12. (Facebook)

Worcester, Schenevus merger up for December 1 vote

By Kevin Limiti • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Schenevus and Worcester Central school districts vote December 1 to decide whether they merge the districts, a move which has divided residents.

If approved, the Worcester Central School district would annex Schenevus. The Schenevus school building would retain its name and dragon mascot, and function as a Kindergarten-through-fifth grade elementary school. Worcester Central would host grades 6 to 12.

Voters approved the merger in a non-binding straw poll in September 2021; the December 1 vote is a binding referendum.

Schools prepare for delta variant

Schools prepare for delta variant

By Kevin Limiti • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

With the delta variant of the coronavirus virus causing jumps in cases across the county and the country, some Otsego County school districts are gearing up to welcome kids back to classes with masks on.
This is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, which has labeled Otsego County as a “substantial transmission” area where, in theory, masks are recommended indoors regardless of vaccination status. COVID cases have been on the rise across the country.

In Otsego County, as of Aug. 9, there were 72 active cases and four hospitalizations.

In Cooperstown Central Schools, while instruction will be in person, there will be a universal indoor mask policy as well as three-foot social distancing while maintaining cleaning and disinfecting at the schools.

As ‘Merger Mondays’ end, Tuesday decision looms for Schenevus, Worcester

As ‘Merger Mondays’ end,
Tuesday decision looms
for Schenevus, Worcester

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The last of the Merger Mondays took place Monday, June 14, ahead of Tuesday’s board vote.

The superintendents of Worcester and Schenevus central schools acknowledged the growing pains of a merger, but also argued its perceived importance to a group of about 15 attendees.

Some of the guests included Assemblyman Brian Miller, and Jeff Bishop, communications director for state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, who is an SCS graduate.

Miller expressed mostly neutrality for the upcoming vote and said he was there to “show support for whichever way the communities decide to go.”

Oberacker was unable to attend because he was at a parade in Unadilla, a cause of some criticism among those who attended, but Bishop said Oberacker was closely following the developments on the potential merger.

If the vote is approved, there will be a Sept. 22, straw poll followed by a Dec. 3, binding referendum.

If the merger is approved the combined Board of Education would increase from five to seven seats. There also will be state financial incentives for the merger, which BOE representatives say will be used to improve educational opportunities and provide funds to a reserve, while also maintaining the same staff only eliminating positions through attrition, which they say will save $690,000.

Class size will be 22 students or lower.

Much of the merger rationale is based on a study conducted prior to the pandemic, which referenced a declining enrollment for both schools, a problem which in a merged district would be resolved with access to more academics and athletics.

Any additional cost for transportation they say will be minimal.

Anything related to mascots, school colors and team names would be student driven, officials said.

“This is emotional for a lot of people. … We do realize that and recognize that, but we have to do what’s best for our kids and everything in the study shows its best for our kids,” Carlin said.

Miller diverted from his original stance of neutrality briefly to posit about the merger.

“It’s to benefit our children and make our area truly prosper. … Things are really getting tough,” Miller said, referencing state funding. “A merger is really the best thing we can do.”

Worcester Decides: We Won’t Take In Schenevus Students

Worcester Decides:

We Won’t Take In

Schenevus Students

By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

WORCESTER – Less than a month after the Schenevus Central School Board voted to begin talks with Worcester about tuitioning-out, Worcester Central School turned down the proposal, citing legal issues.

“In the beginning, tuitioning for both sides looked good,” said Worcester superintendent Tim Gonzales. “But as we dug deeper and looked more into the legal side, that’s where it got muddy,” he said.

Schenevus Takes First Step Towards Tuitioning Out

Schenevus Takes 1st Step

Towards ‘Tuitioning Out’

Schenevus Superintendent Theresa Carlin presents her case for “tuitioning out” in middle and high school students in the 2020-21 school year, a move that could save the district $1 million as they continue to assess a merger with Worcester school district. (James Cummings/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Tom Snyder said he would prefer that the options, including a tax increase, be left to the taxpayers.

SCHENEVUS – With $150,000 in state aid not coming through and a merger study still not guaranteed, the Schenevus Central school board voted unanimously on a resolution to begin talks with Worcester on “tuitioning out”  middle and high school students.

“We started off the week with a very scary situation,” said District Treasurer Greg Beall. “The state did not give us $150,000 in aid. Fortunately, we received a $180,000 refund from BOCES and now we are funded for this year.”

And Theresa Carlin stressed that next year could be worse. “We don’t know if we’ll be able to function next year,” she said. “There is no indication that we will see additional state aid.”

Schenevus School Board: Tuitioning Out Could Save $1M

Schenevus School Board Says

Tuitioning Out Could Save $1M

By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special To AllOTSEGO.com

SCHENEVUS – Awaiting a merger study, the Schenevus Central School Board will meet tomorrow at 6:30 to vote on a resolution to begin conversations with Worcester about tuitioning-out students for the 2020-2021 school year.

“Tutioning-out is buying a service from another school district instead of supplying that service yourself,” said Schenevus Central School Superintendent Theresa Carlin.

At Meeting, Schenevus Superintendent Urges Merger

SCHENEVUS CS AT CROSSROADS

At Packed Meeting,

Superintendent Says

Merger Is Best Option

Schenevus Superintendent Theresa Carlin presented three options – merging, tuition-out or dissolving – for the future of the school district tonight at a public meeting in the school’s gymnasium. (James Cummings/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Hugh Gallagher’s three children attended Schenevus Central, and he stood up to support of merging with Worcester Central to get more state aid for both schools.

SCHENEVUS — With time and money running out, Schenevus Central School Superintendent Theresa Carlin gave parents three options for their district: Dissolve, tuition-out or merge.

“We cannot sustain ourselves as a K-12 district much longer,” she said at a presentation in the school gymnasium tonight. “Our number one solution is to merge with another district.

But families who came out to the meeting were divided on which of those three choices to make.

Doug Gulotty, a Schenevus resident and former Wilber Bank president who spent 17 years as a board member and whose wife teaches at the school, favors tuitioning-out. “The identity of the school matters,” Gulotty said. “I want everyone to keep an open mind.”

Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103