At the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board public meeting on Jan. 23, the directors took the remarkable action of accepting Superintendent John Sanville's resignation with two years remaining on his current contract. This is probably the best thing this current board has ever done.
However, right after this action the board took what is probably the worst decision ever made in our district. The members of the board voted unanimously to give Sanville a new five-year contract with an increase in salary to $255000, or a 15.4 percent annual increase. After six years, the superintendent's salary has nearly doubled.
If he completely serves out this new contract, he will have served roughly 10 years with an average yearly salary of $240,000. Additionally he will have earned benefits for vacations, a sabbatical, health insurance, and funds for retirement.
The board's action is highly questionable, definitely unethical, and possibly illegal. When an open position occurs in the district, it should be advertised, those interested in filling the opening should be interviewed, and the best applicant should be offered the position. Board ignored all these steps.
Since Sanville became superintendent in 2011 at an annual salary of $180000, the student body has experienced extensive bullying, drunken students have entered the high school building during class time, and three students have entered the building armed with knives.
I do not recall such actions having ever occurred in the sixty years that i have been a resident of the district.
The superintendent allows some out of district students to attend our schools without paying any tuition or taxes. Sanville lied by claiming this was not occurring. I am aware and have also been told this illegal action is still continuing.
The superintendent and board approved a $70 million renovation and expansion of the high school. In taking this action, the public results of two district referenda were completely ignored.
Annual budgets have grown every year at an average rate 1 percent greater that the educational cost of living increases. The district's taxpayers have not experienced a year without a tax increase since 1998.
Sanville has lost two excellent members from his staff. These were Sharon Allen Spann, director of Pupil and Staff Services, and Kenneth E. Batchelor, assistant to the superintendent.
And finally the annual ranking of schools done by U.S. News and World Report last reported our district ranked number 8 in our State and number 510 nationally last year. In 2012 the magazine reported that UCF was fourth in the State and number 394. Both rankings are significantly lower since Sanville was hired.
All these dreadful results occurred during Sanville’s time in office. The board gave no reasons why he deserves a raise or even continued employment in our district. Our district deserves a much better performance by our superintendent.
Bruce B. Yelton
** (Editor’s note: The high school renovation project was approved in 2009, two years before Sanville became superintendent. The questionable admission of non-district students into U-CF schools also happened under a previous administration.)