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Local News

December 27, 2012

Local schools made hard choices


The Future

Schools have started to look at what next year’s budget might bring and they were not hopeful for good news soon. In November, students and staff at Unatego joined a statewide effort to bring continued funding problems to state legislators’ attention. Unatego Superintendent Charles Molloy said that if his school gets state aid similar to last year, the only alternative would be to close Otego Elementary School and cut non-mandated programs.

At a December Oneonta City School District Board of Education meeting, preliminary budget information showed that the district could be facing a $1 million budget gap at this stage in the process. While that could change, it is an indication that the district could be in for another challenging year, officials said.

Legal Cases

Non-criminal harassment charges were lodged against five Cooperstown High School students at the end of last year. They came in connection with the alleged bullying of a teammate. No guilty pleas were entered by the teens. The cases were adjourned in contemplation of dismissal, Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said in May. That means that the charges would be dropped in six months if they stay out of trouble, he said. Muehl could not be reached Tuesday to see if there were any changes.

In late November, a former Walton high school teacher, Stephanie Fletcher, who had until recently been employed by the school, was charged with two counts of third-degree rape, one count of third-degree criminal sexual act and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, for allegedly having sex with two underage students. A hearing scheduled for Sidney Town Court in mid-December was postponed until Feb. 14 at the request of special counsel Michael Breen of Middleburgh, with the consent of Fletcher’s attorney.

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