UCF board approves new 4-year pact with Sanville

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Superintendent now under contract through Aug., 2018

JohnSanville

Dr. John Sanville

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times
EAST MARLBOROUGH — John Sanville is officially staying on for another four years as Superintendent of Schools for the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District — and while the entire Board of Education welcomed that fact, there wasn’t unanimous agreement on the terms of his new four-year pact approved Tuesday night.

Sanville, who took over as superintendent in Sept., 2011, is in the final months of his original three-year contract, is getting a new four-year-deal that calls initially for a 10% salary boost, effective in Sept., 2014. In the following years, the contract calls for salary hikes at the rate of the Act 1 index. The current rate for the 2014-15 school year is 2.1%, as an example.

“We hired John as a novice,” Board Finance chair Keith Knauss said. “We hired him at the bottom of the scale for Chester County superintendents.”

But now, Knauss said, Sanville has a nearly three-year track record of running the district, and has shown that he deserves comparable compensation to that of other superintendents in the district. Even under the new deal, Knauss noted, that Sanville would be seventh in pay in the county.

Knauss acknowledged that it might be difficult for district employees being asked to accept smaller salary increases to see such a hike, but noted that Sanville had been underpaid relative to his contemporaries — and was making less than his predecessor, Sharon Parker. The new deal is appropriate and, he said, arguably still under market value for a now seasoned superintendent.

Board member Eileen Bushelow, who made it clear that she strongly supported Sanville and wanted him to continue as superintendent, voted against the pact — saying she didn’t feel it was the best deal for the school district.

“But this in no way reflects how I feel about Dr. Sanville,” she said.

Bushelow ended up being the only no vote on the new contract which runs through Sept. 1, 2018.

Sanville, who has been part of the district administration since 2007, said the new contract was “humbling.”

“I’m appreciative to know that I’m part of such a great community,” he said.

In other district business, the board approved a contract with communications consultant David R. Voss to work with district on refining its overall communication, and specifically, among other things, its crisis communication plan. The deal runs through the end of the current school year — although Voss is responsible to get all of the specific tasks completed, and if need be, will be required to work longer to finish.

Again, there was a single dissenter, Kathleen Do, who felt that the deal would largely be a cosmetic fix for what should be a more detailed look at the crisis communications plan.

“In my mind, the crisis communications plan is the most important thing,” she said, expressing concerns a good plan might be the only thing preventing a panic in the event of some sort of incident at a district school.

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Tags: board of education, contract, Dr. John Sanville, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District
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25 Responses

  1. Interesting that there is no mention in this article about the person who made a public comment about civility in the district. No communication plan or consultant can improve communications with taxpayers, parents, teachers or support staff if there is a consistent pattern on the part of the Superintendent and the Board to vilify and bully anybody who disagrees with them. Bruce Yelton and I (and my son) are living proof of what happens when you disagree.

    Sanville is no Sharon Parker. He is not even close. Keith’s comparisons on salary are lost because Sanville does not have the reputation of the other superintendents or of Sharon herself. This contract only increases the amount of money that taxpayers will be saddled with as the district continues to unravel and it becomes crystal clear to school directors what the public already knows — that Sanville needs to go.

    • How exactly is the district “unraveling”? I keep reading you and Bruce Yelton repeating this mantra over and over again. Can you point me to facts – no opinions mind you – of how UCFSD test scores are falling, how sports teams are losing, how the band cannot keep a tune, how the drama club is putting on horrible plays, how kids used to get into Ivy League schools when Sharon Parker was in charge and now don’t since John Sanville is in charge? I keep hearing you and Bruce talking about the sky falling but I’ve yet to see a fact back in up. I’m genuinely curious what objective metric you are applying to your opinions on the awfulness of John Sanville and the plummeting quality of the UCFSD.

  2. Bruce Yelton has done an admirable job of laying out the facts (his letter of 10 Feb is posted on this site). Of course, when the Superintendent/Board slap value judgments on people and the events they are presenting, they deny or minimize the existence of the facts because they disagree or don’t want them revealed in Sanville’s land of “never better”, why bother? As an example, remember the deal that Sanville made over the free tuition? They claim there was no deal because they didn’t call it that, yet the Chadds Ford business owners continue to get a free education for their children and Dr. Manzone was made to appear as someone who was irrational for bringing it to public attention. It’s the old spin it their way and slam the person for bringing it up. Spin/slam/bully.

    For a huge example of the crumbing district, I refer you to the board meeting yesterday where a parent gave a heartbreaking presentation on the bullying that his children are experiencing on the bus. The District has had many complaints about bullying. I can personally attest to the damage that District bullying has caused. When I tried to get Sanville/Board attention on the bullying that my son was constantly experiencing, Sanville told me bullying wasn’t an issue. When I didn’t back off, board member Kathy Do, got us an over-the-top, way-too-expensive movie on bullying as if that solved the problem. Sanville finally decided that bullying might be a theoretical issue in the District where he could score some points with his fellow Kennett Superintendent and there were a few meetings where it was discussed. It was clear that the Kennett District was far ahead of UCFSD in actually addressing the issue.

    They bullying policy in UCFSD is nothing but electrons in the ether on a website. It is not enforced. There is no tracking of who was bullied or who did the bullying. Mr. Fulgenitti blew off the bullying my son experienced instead of taking action. His idea that the kid should “fight back” is utterly reprehensible and unprofessional. He and other officials bring kids in and say “don’t do that again” and if the kids seem slightly remorseful, nothing ever happens and nothing is ever even documented.

    Lastly, did you think that kids just start bullying on their own? They learn it. They see how the “adults” who are officials in the District behave and the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

    • Mr. Yelton’s letter makes allegations of failing test scores and says that they were “front page news” on some other website/paper. I searched that website/paper and found no such link to any such studies showing dipping of test scores. I note, AGAIN, that you are peppering this site with your own unfavorable opinions of Dr. Sanville based upon your own experience with, of course, no district personnel could comment on due to privacy laws – which hardly seems fair. That said, please direct me to the studies showing how UCFSD is “collapsing” on Dr. Sanville’s leadership. I’ll wait….

      • Your comments remind me of the letter by Dr. Manzone when she said, “Community members raising issues are often themselves considered the problem. Energy is expended complaining about these individuals rather than focusing on improvement.”

        I have spoken to many residents in your district about Dr. Manzone. Here are just a few of the comments from them:

        I love Holly Manzone.
        Holly Manzone is a hard worker
        Holly wouldn’t say anything that wasn’t true.
        My girls were friends with her girls. There is no better person.
        Holly Manzone is smart.

        It confuses me why residents do not stand up and publicly support her. I did not hear one negative thing about the woman.

        • Huh? I’m not attacking anyone. I’m asking for facts to back up opinion. However, on the topic of attacking, I note you are, in seemingly most of your posts you are attacking Keith Knauss and, in most of Ms. Hoover’s posts she is attacking Dr. Sanville. I’m just asking for facts and data.

          • I didn’t suggest your are attacking anyone. Interesting that’s how you interpret it. I do not attack Keith Knauss. Your attempt to blame me for what Keith does will not work. Keith and Mr. Dupuis viciously attacked Mr. Yelton because he dared to write a letter to the editor which they did not like. Instead of addressing the issues, just like you, they focused on complaining about these individuals and what they said instead of improving the situation.

            Mr. Yelton and Ms. Hoover are tax paying citizens of this district. Their questions should be answered and they should be treated with respect. Instead, you, Keith, Mr. Dupuis and all the rest of the board because they silently sat back and let it happen, take them to task while you protect and support administrator Sanville.

          • Just to clarify, you can assume that when I criticize Sanville, it also is aimed directly at the Board.

        • You comments about Dr. Manzone are very accurate. I agree completely.

    • Bruce Yelton lays out no “facts” in his letter of that date. He directs people to an article on another website that I cannot find. I asked him in the comments (which he assuredly reads) to give me the date of the article – I was curious. I’ve received no response. Do you have an link to these allegedly plummeting test scores and rankings or are you just going to again remind us of your OPNION that Dr. Sanville is lousy?

      • Obviously, you don’t know Bruce Yelton personally. You could call Bruce and talk to him as I have. The problem is that you would have to stop hiding behind an alias.

        I’ve explained how Sanville dropped the ball on the bullying issue. Bullying is a serious issue that impacts the physical and mental well-being of children and their families. Yet, this is not enough of an issue for you. It can’t be reduced to a simple weblink.

  3. It’s difficult to understand how school board directors can justify salary increases for administrators when they raise taxes for hard working citizens and outsource employees who work with our most vulnerable children.

    When businesses hit tough times, they consolidate, they lay off, they cut back back, just to survive. This notion that administrators expect to get raises when their contracts come due has got to stop. How many hard working citizens in U-CF make over $200,000 with perks and raises that Mr. Sanville is getting. Not many.

    We’re having this discussion right now on Community Matters. Keith mentioned the The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice article in Oct. 2012 Titled: The School Staffing Surge: Decades Of Employment Growth in America’s Public Schools. Please google this and read how administrator pay and administrator increasing employment numbers over the last 20 years especially have financially burdened our schools with absolutely no benefit to the students. It’s ludicrous and tax payers have to stand up and do something about this.

    • TE Resident,

      Thanks for mentioning the “administrator increasing employment numbers” as mentioned by the Friedman Foundation. Prior to Dr. Sanville’s appointment the district employed 21 administrators. That number is now 18. This is one of the success stories at UCFSD, a tribute to our hard working administrators, an example of Dr. Sanville’s excellent leadership and evidence that he Board is working hard to provide an excellent education at an affordable taxpayer cost.

  4. Keith, if you read the article, the number of administrator personnel hires far outpaced teacher hires and dwarfed student enrollment increases. Administrator positions had absolutely no positive effect for students, they were simply a financial burden to tax payers.

    Because “you say” Mr. Sanville made the decision to decrease personnel numbers by 3 does not justify him to make more money than the governor of the state of PA.

    Corbett makes $186,000.

    Had non teaching personnel increased at the same rate as students nationwide, American public schools would have an additional 243B (Yes, billion) dollars annually, funds that could give relief to tax payers.

    We spend 72% more on non teaching staff relative to other nations. It’s ludicrous, especially since so many hard working tax payers in this area are experiencing the weak economic climate.

    I find it noteworthy and confusing that you hired a communications consultant. The public wants transparency and to be spoken to with the respect and civility and decency that they deserve as tax paying citizens. The administration is supposed to work for you, you are supposed to represent the citizens of the school district. What are his “specific tasks?”

    I would be happy to provide data to substantiate any and all claims if asked. Thanks.

  5. It is merely a demonstration that you plan to run the district on the backs of the staff to finance the consultant or study of the moment, Sanville’s salary, the massive interest on the debt from the high school renovation and any other whim the Board happens to have. The Board does what it wants to do. The people pay. The staff suffers. Sanville remains an ineffective and disliked representative of the District. He needs to go…..before he makes any more tuition deals that cost the taxpayers or fails yet again to protect children from bullying.

  6. I think it demonstrates the point that boards work for administrations and administrations work in their own best interests. These expenditures benefit the Board and Mr. Sanville and as always the tax payer and students are after thoughts, really not thought of at all, and at a time when tax hikes are looming. It makes no sense.

    At least two Board members voted no. Bushelow on the Sanville deal and Do on the communications deal.

  7. Kristin,

    I don’t criticize Observing or any citizen for commenting behind an alias. I’m grateful for the right to do so.

    The Supreme Court prtects statements and free speech by citizens, alias or no alias, due to the extreme power public officials have over citizens. Public officials use bullying and intimidating tactics to protect themselves from exposure, so citizens are given much legal latitude in what they say about public officials.

    It is curious why Observing posts under an alias though. Usually people who agree and support public officials and their tactics have no reason to post under an alias, because they would, in theory have no fear of retribution. Maybe Observing is a public official. We will never know and that’s just fine with me. It is his/her constitutional right as a citizen of this country.

  8. I understand the need for an alias since the Board and Sanville have a track record of retaliation and vilification of those who disagree. If you don’t agree, then you didn’t present the “facts” because the facts are what the Board/Sanville agree on for any given subject. Their mantra is you don’t know the facts; you don’t understand the facts; you can’t understand the facts, you need to show them your facts so they can argue them or failing all of that they manufacture “facts” to discredit a person so that their issue is lost in the process. Dr. Manzone is a recent example of how they take an incredible, intelligent community leader and try to make her look irrational with made up “facts” such as her chasing the resident in a car. It never happened, but their hope is that people might doubt their own intuition and believe these people who have been consumed by their own egos and power. Remember their main tactic is spin/slam/bully. A alias is very important in that environment.

    • I thinks it is fascinating that you can’t point to any objective evidence (i.e. test scores, etc.) to prove the schools are performing poorly but you’ve got thousands of words psychoanalyzing people you don’t (or hardly) even know. I also think it odd that your response to my request for facts is that I should “call Bruce Yelton.” Bruce took a position on an issue that is, as far as I can tell, unsupported by any facts. Do you think I need to call him so that he can tell me what the truth is? Is the point of writing an editorial to convince the reader of your position or to get people to call you for more informaiton?

    • Well, yes, Keith and I have had this conversation on Community Matters more than once. Citizens and Board Members on opposite sides of an issue can take the exact same information and use to come to completely different conclusions.

      All you have to do is read the Union-Chadsford Manzone thread on Community Matters in Tredyffrin Township, http://www.pattyebenson.org to see an example of what you are writing about.

      I believe Keith takes information, and twists it to further his own agenda. He may believe I do the same. As I say to Keith, citizens can read and come to their own conclusions. I am grateful to Keith for writing about his opinions and it’s important that he continue to justify these decisions he makes to residents in this district who have to pay for these decisions.

      I am still baffled by the decision to hire a communications consultant. Does anyone know the reason for this? Did anyone ask? To know what to say in case of an emergency, I don’t even know what to say to that. I did some research and other communications consultants who were hired by school districts (not many) charged their districts $55,000 per year. And the crew club is paying their own freight? and programs are being cut? And aides are now outsourced. Makes no sense to me.

      • TE Resident “hits the nail on the head” yet again with his/her comments! Interesting that there are 51 comments on the Manzone resignation on Community Matters and people support her. I’m sorry that Dr. Manzone had to go through that episode, but it showed is that the “cracks in the facade” of the “perfect” district are wider and deeper than anybody imagined (me included). My hope is that she stay engaged. The people need her.

        As far at the communications consultant goes, they need that for political cover. Sanville never makes a move without consulting the solicitor. Of course how the solicitor is chosen, how much he costs the taxpayers is a “black hole” that no right-to-know request or physical look through the billing can penetrate. Sanville is pretty good at denying RTK requests so that people can actually know what is really happening. His solicitor always falls back on confidentiality and nobody has enough time or money to challenge it. Any information that remains is filtered through to Keith and the Board who are wholly dependent on what Sanville tells them. The Board made a decision to continue with an ineffective superintendent (while miscalculating the level of dislike in the community) because they knew he could be controlled (unlike Sharon Parker). A weak superintendent needs a PR man for anything that may go wrong and to “gauge the ongoing water temperature” in the community. Notice how Keith and his “Observing” friend are keeping quiet? It now should be pretty clear why they need a communications consultant.

        • “Any information that remains is filtered through to Keith and the Board who are wholly dependent on what Sanville tells them.”

          My guess is (and that’s all it is, a guess) that Keith tells Sanville what to do and not the other way around. Keith called Mr. Sanville a novice, Keith was a Director long before Sanville became supt. and if you read back when the decision was made on who to replace Sharon Parker, Keiths’ comments in the press outweighed others.

          The only hope for independent thinking is term limits for Board Members. How long have Keith and Mr. Hellrung served?

          Spending on such things as “consultants” and raises for administrators who make more in salary than every governor in the union (Corbett is the highest paid governor in the country at $186,000, Christy makes $175,000 and capped all school supt. in the state of New Jersey at $175,000.) takes schools away from their fundamental academic purpose and does students a disservice. Read Benjamin Ginsberg’s book The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why it Matters.

          Ms. Do, you might be interested in reading comments from aides in the TE district regarding their experience working side by side with outsourced aides. Please go to http://www.pattyebenson.org and click on the 7 minute clock in and 7 minute clock out letter thread. Navigating the cite is easy. The “recent comments” section to the right will take you, well, to the most recent comments. Archived threads are accessed to the left of the cite. Much to read over the years about what Keith thinks. Thanks

          Funny to hear that Mr. Sanville denies requests on RTK’s. I can’t tell you how many times on Community Matters , Keith has counseled posters to file RTK’s. Now I know he knew they would be denied, since you have revealed he is part of the very system that makes sure they are denied.

  9. I remember the days when Upper St Clair and Unionville were always wondering who was going to be highest in the state in test scores. Now Bruce Yelton has pointed out in a fact that the Board/Sanville would have us ignore, UCFSD doesn’t make the top ten according to a report released in December by the state (Dec 26 article in Chester County Press). This report replaces the former “adequate yearly progress”. Top schools nearby in this recently released report were: 1) Downingtown STEM Academy (101.4); 2) Central High, Philadelphia School District (101.3); 3) Merion Elementary, Lower Merion School District (100.6); 4) Ithan Elementary, Radnor School District (100.2); 5) Whitemarsh Elementary, Colonial School District (99.8); 6) Evergreen Elementary, Perkiomen Valley School District (99.3); 7) Radnor Middle School, Radnor School District (99.1); 8) Lenape Middle School, Central Bucks School District (98.9); 9) Central Bucks High East, Central Bucks School District (98.9); 10) Strath Haven High, Wallingford-Swarthmore School District (98.6). UCFSD was where?

    There is another fact which the Board/Sanville would have us ignore. Look at these rankings in this list or how the entire State ranked or look at US News rankings for schools and then tell me why UCFSD is so far down the list compared to other schools and districts with significantly more socioeconomic challenges. UCFSD has only 0.02% of students who are at the poverty line. It is a socioeconomically homogeneous group with very few minorities and is not spending resources on teaching English to students for whom it is not their first language. They have involved parents who are active in the District. Students have all kinds of parent encouraged extra curricular activities and they have access to computers, books, trips and all kinds of stimulation to encourage learning. Why aren’t they skyrocketing ahead of other Districts with significantly greater challenges?

    My guess is that the emphasis crystallized in Dr. Sanville favorite phase “never better” is that we only want to maintain the relative status quo of thinking that everything is great through copious self-congratulation. Keep the illusion going when you forget where the District has been by giving an ineffective and disliked Superintendent a new contract and pay raise and then spend 25K on a communication consultant so that you can once again be told that the public would like transparency and honest dealing with problems like drugs, bullying, low moral of support staff, etc, etc, etc.? Nothing is ever going to be better with Dr. Never Better at the helm.

  10. A 30 Grand raise in this economy?? Good work UCFSD Board – NOT!! #Patsies

  11. My question is: What did Sanville ever do for this District?

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