Complaints against former SVSU sup't Knapp revealed
BENNINGTON -- A former Southwestern Vermont Supervisory Union superintendent's tenure at a Pennsylvania school system ended on poor terms last year. Those terms were recently revealed by The Sunbury (Pa.) Daily Item when it anonymously received a document outlining 36 "charges" made by the school board against the administrator that included lying under oath, failing to properly monitor federal programs, and acting against the advice of the district solicitor.
Wesley L. Knapp served as superintendent at SVSU from 2003 to 2008, when he retired, telling the SVSU board that he wished to put the needs of his family above his work.
According to The Daily Item article published March 4, Knapp abruptly resigned in 2013 after being superintendent at the Midd-West School District in Sunbury, Pa., for five years. He resigned after receiving a list of charges from the district's board of directors, however neither Knapp nor the board would comment on what the charges were.
The Daily Item reported that neither Knapp, nor Midd-West School District Board President Victor Abate would comment on the document. All Abate said was the board did not authorize its disclosure. The paper posted the document to its website, www.dailyitem.com.
According to the document, Knapp was told the 36 charges were why the board intended to terminate him, and it offered a public hearing to be held on Oct. 9 for him to answer said charges. The Daily Item reported that Knapp resigned before the hearing and it never took place. He did so in exchange for the charges being dropped and not being publicly disclosed. The board also agreed to pay Knapp a lump sum of $62,682 plus $10,000 in annuity payments through June.
The board's charges accuse Knapp of giving false testimony under oath during a legal dispute with a contractor over school renovation work, that he ignored the district solicitor's advice regarding placing work out to bid, and that he was not knowledgeable about state laws in terms of bidding.
The charges also accuse Knapp of not being honest regarding his credentials. It was reported in The Daily Item that Knapp's doctorate in education is from Kennedy-Western University, which was unaccredited and shut down in 2009 when the state of Wyoming revoked its license. Knapp got his doctorate from there in 2001.
In 2003, Knapp told the SVSU he would commit to the job for five years, but in 2005 he was one of two finalists for a superintendent position at Mount Greylock Regional School District in Williamstown, Mass. He did not get the position, and was criticized by SVSU board members for going back on his commitment. In 2006, the board agreed to extend his contract by a year.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.
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