Sanville, UCF board agree to new contract

Deal expected to be formally ratified in Feb., extends term through Aug. 2018


Dr. John Sanville, seated at right front, Superintendent of Schools of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District reached a tentative deal with the UCF Board of Education on a new contract to stay on as superintendent through Aug. 2018.

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times
EAST MARLBOROUGH — The Unionville-Chadds Ford School District and Superintendent of Schools John Sanville have reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract, school officials announced Monday night during the Board of Education meeting.

Sanville, whose initial three-year pact was set to expire Sept. 1, would now remain under contract through Aug. 30, 2018, assuming the deal is finalized in the coming weeks. Under the tentative agreement his salary would be set at $210,000 per year, with increases linked to the Act I index — as an example, the index for the 2014-15 budget is 2.1%, were that index to hold for the next year, his salary would increase to $214,410 for the 2015-16 school year. In addition, under new deal, Sanville would get 10 additional vacation days — now a total of 30 — in the new deal.

The deal is expected to formally ratified by the board at the February board meeting. The full details of the new contract are expected to be posted on the district Website in the coming weeks, prior to the board voting on the pact, board president Victor Dupuis said.

Sanville deflected praise for his work and said all of the recent success was due to the efforts of many in the district.

“This is really a referendum on the hard work that everyone in the district does,” he said.

In a related matter, a number of board members objected to a letter to the editor that was published in The Times this past weekend (the letter was also sent to local print publications — and may be printed there later this week, as well) from Pocopson resident Bruce Yelton.

Related Content:

Letters to the editor and the greater conversation

Yelton called for Sanville’s dismissal and claimed — although he did not cite sources for his claims — that test scores were down, there were morale issues with staff and that the district had mishandled a Right To Know request of his.

Keith Knauss disputed all of Yelton’s claims, point-by-point.

“I believe that Dr. Sanville has shown excellent performance,” he said.

Dupuis agreed, but castigated The Times for running the letter without fact-checking and said in the future such letters should presented for review prior to publication.

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  1. Kristin Hoover says:

    You have to love the “red herrings” that are being thrown out! The real issue is that Sanville needs to go. A guy who arrogantly empowers himself to make deals with non-residents to educate their children for free providing they spend 4 nights a week at the business…..please! This guy hides in RTK confidentiality and the board thinks this is OK. I think he is a bully based on my experience. There is no check and balance on the power of the Superintendent because, as TE Resident points out, the board operates in the great filter of whatever the Superintendent wants to let them know with whatever spin he wants. They hired him and so it reflects on them if he fails. No member of the board is going to show any disagreement because of having kids in the school or threaten their position in District sports. They would be “Manzone’ed”, not for the original issue, but because they wouldn’t “play the game” of total agreement. They save Sanville to save themselves. People were devoted to Sharon Parker, but not this guy. The “quiet riot” has already begun against Sanville. The question is not if, but when.

    • TE Resident says:

      This I know. The only thing School Board Directors are afraid of, are tax paying citizens (especially parents) banding together for a common cause. That is where your power lies. It can’t be kept in the shadows. It can’t be kept quiet. They can bully and intimidate one or two parents or tax payers who don’t bow to their authority or who dare to question the filtered information presented by administrators. They cannot bully and intimidate an entire group of parent, tax paying citizens coming together over a common cause.

      As Ms. Hoover, it has also been my experience that School Boards work for administrators (when they are supposed to serve the citizens) and tax payers and students are after thoughts.

      • Kristin Hoover says:

        I feel bad for the bus drivers as well. There are a whole host of people who support the educational system. Keith may quibble over exactly what and how much is outsourced at the moment, but the whole agenda of the board is to deal a blow to those who depend on the retirement system. The bus outsourcing study was supposed to be political cover for the bus drivers to be outsourced and then it didn’t happen to turn out the way they expected The tide has already turned on Sanville and in the meantime, taxpayers need to be vigilant about all of these important issues. You have to remember that people with absolute power can’t stand any dissenting voices because they are evidence of cracks in the power that have to be stopped before the whole thing erodes. They have to constantly try to measure the size of the revolt!

  2. TE Resident says:

    Keith protects his own, yet he takes tax paying citizens to task for exercising their rights to freely speak out about issues.

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    The Supreme Court protects statements and free speech by citizens due to the extreme power public officials have over citizens. Public officials uses bullying and intimidating tactics to protect themselves from being exposed. We need to protect our free speech. Citizens should have no fear whatsoever about questioning public officials.

  3. Keith Knauss says:

    TE Resident,
    Thanks for the chance to expand on my point. You were ” surprised and saddened by an editor who would be for censorship by school administrators over a student high school newspaper.”
    My point is that the editor has made it abundantly clear that he is against censorship and is in 100% in agreement with your viewpoint. See his article noted above entitled “Letters to the editor and the greater conversation”. The editor did note that “the district has such right [censorship] for the school newspaper”, but in no way endorsed exercising that right.
    It’s confusing to others and frustrating for me when someone doesn’t spend the time to read posts critically and comes to a conclusion 180 degrees out of whack.

    • TE Resident says:

      Wow. There you go again. My conclusion is not 180 degrees out of whack. He also said “ironically, I thought as the effective publisher that the district has such right for the school newspaper.” He has made it clear, and rightly so (IMHO) that censorship of Mr. Yelton’s letter is wrong. Even if I don’t live in this district, what kind of a School Board Director says things like this to a tax paying citizen.

      I know exactly what Mike said, I read the post and now your trying to discredit me by deflecting attention away from the real issue, and onto my critical thinking skills and this is exactly the way you bully and intimidate citizens into not speaking out, and like Ms. Hoover said proving my point and it’s very clear you have no awareness about what you are doing.

      • Keith Knauss says:

        Why did you say you were ” surprised and saddened by an editor who would be FOR censorship by school administrators over a student high school newspaper”?
        Editor McGann said exactly the opposite – he made it abundantly clear he is AGAINST censorship.
        I think your statement is “180 degrees out of whack” and confusing.

        • TE Resident says:

          O.K Keith, I guess you’ll have to continue to be confused over this issue that, as Ms. Hoover said really doesn’t matter much and isn’t the main point. I think I’ve made myself clear.

  4. TE Resident says:

    Thank-uou. As editor of a publication I am surprised and saddened by your thoughts on this matter.

    In 2009, student journalists at Conestoga High School contested a proposed policy they believed would have forced censorship of their award winning student news paper – The Spoke.

    The policy would have implemented administrative prior review and redefined the role of the newspaper advisors essentially asking them to censor the student produced publication at the discretion of school officials.

    The students formed a website:

    Mike, please go to this site and read about this student editors experience. He went on to Princeton University after having forced the administration to back down give up on this policy change.

    • Keith Knauss says:

      “As editor of a publication I am surprised and saddened by your thoughts on this matter.”
      Huh? What?
      This is a perfect example of why any comment from TE Resident is suspect.

      • Kristin Hoover says:

        This is not your style. But then, this is not the Keith Knauss who made exactly the same kinds of right-to-know requests as Bruce Yelton. This is not the same Keith Knauss who won an award in Harrisburg for RTK requests. This is not the same Knauss who had his RTK request turned down by the administration for exactly the same reasons and the same one who was not happy about it. How much did the District (read TAXPAYERS) spend in legal fees on all that? Oh yes, nobody knows and it would probably take an RTK request to find out and “so it goes.” The current Keith Knauss is not the one who carried out the “Efficient Education” campaigns who responded to everything with numbers, numbers and numbers. The current Knauss plays golf with the right people now. The Keith Knauss of earlier times would have understood the need for discourse especially when his was the differing opinion. Now you are the guy who helped hire the ineffectual superintendent. You hired this guy who empowers himself to make deals with Chadds Ford business owners for a tuition free education and you now agree with that idea as long as nobody calls it a “deal.” You hired the superintendent who, in my opinion, bullied me and my son. The ultimate irony is that you hired the superintendent who hides behind RTK and confidentiality issues. This is the same superintendent who told me that there was no bullying in this District and then invites parents to participate in an anti-bullying group when one of the students “selected” to attend ends up BEING the biggest bully of one children of the very same parent who was in the breakout subgroup! It’s just one irony after another!!!!

        Yelton is right. Sanville needs to go. Why give somebody four more years who wasn’t going anywhere anyway? Oh yes, the Board who hired him has to stick with him so that nobody thinks they made a mistake. The old Keith Knauss was the one that I respected even with our differences. The current Keith is the one who argues the point and makes a better case for why his opponent is right than his opponent.

        Sanville’s downfall is already happening and lies is in the conversations people have with each other in the District. They used to call these whisper campaigns. One day before the next four years go by, Sanville will hit his Malcolm Gladwell “tipping point” and the end will come where the Board needs to take action. There are only two questions: 1) when; and 2) will how much will it cost the taxpayers to pay this contract while paying the new superintendent. I am a taxpayer who helped pay for Kinney. It’s simply a short amount of time and a lot of taxpayer money!!!

        • TE Resident says:

          Thank-you Ms. Hoover for your thoughtful well stated comments.

          You say, “It’s just one irony after another.”

          I don’t believe it is irony. If a tax paying citizen, especially a parent, comes forward with a legitimate complaint, it is customary for officials to first smile, tell you how grateful they are, and then proceed to engage further in the same behavior which caused the parent to speak up. This serves many purposes.

          1.) It says, we have all the power.

          2.) we don’t care what you think

          3.) if you say anything, we’ll do it more.

          It trains parents to not come forward in fear of retribution.

      • TE Resident says:

        Keith, I don’t understand your reply. Why are my comments suspect because I am surprised and saddened by an editor who would be for censorship by school administrators over a student high school newspaper.

        It’s true, I’m new to this site and perhaps put my comment in the wrong spot. The comment was directed to Mike, the editor.

        Could you please explain. I’m confused. Was that your intention?

  5. Keith Knauss says:

    I enjoy debating topics, but it becomes tiresome when responding to someone who can vacuously criticize without responsibility by hiding behind a pseudonym. In addition, TE Resident might want to figure out that listening to someone vigorously expressing an alternate opinion is not the same as “retribution by being viciously attacked”.

    • TE Resident says:

      I would use my name but I have fear of retribution by a school official.

      Thanks for telling me what to do…………again.

      I just read the rebuttal again on Chestercounty press. In my opinion, (I understand that yours may be different and I respect that) the rebuttal has some vicious attacks in it. I think listing them would be petty so please read for yourselves if it interests you and as I say to Keith on Community Matters, readers can judge for themselves.

      I find it interesting that you are calling on me to direct my salary complaint to my own district where our supt. makes over $300,000.

      First, please provide the data to substantiate that unsupported claim. I won’t bully or name call you or viciously attack you by calling into question your motives for making what seems like an inflammatory claim. the way Mr. Dupri did to Mr. Yelton. Please see rebuttal in chestercounty press for data that substantiates that claim.

      Second, The tide has turned hasn’t it, my friend. You see, I have had many, many discussions with Keith over the last two years about excessive administrator pay, especially supt.’s. And now, when it benefit’s you, because I’m posting in your district, you try to give the appearance I support my supt.’s pay. That is so disingenuous. Please see community matters posts over the last 2 years, You will see I have always advocated for lower administrator pay, while Keith has always advocated the opposite.

      I would like to know where you came up with that $300,000 number though. That is beyond excessive. The numbers, as you know, have always been quoted around $225,000, with college fees, and car allowances on top but I have never known the real numbers. Any data you could provide and substantiate would be greatly appreciated. Hey, just post it on Community Matters!

      Your people are probably tired of all this by now. Let’s get back to mine.

  6. TE Resident says:

    One final comment:

    School officials have chosen to open themselves up to questions, letters, opinions and scrutiny by becoming school officials. They have a lot of power over our lives by how much they tax us to how they spend that tax money to how they treat our children. So, let’s be clear here, Mr. Yelton, and me for that matter, have a right to write letters, ask questions and scrutinize school official actions without the fear of retribution by being viciously attacked when we dare to speak out about questionable actions by the board. I don’t think Keith and a few others on this board get that, and that Unionville residents is the real problem.

    • Mike McGann says:

      I’m not sure that anyone or any criticism has been “viciously attacked.”

      I think I made my own stance on “prior review” clear (ironically, I thought, as the effective publisher that the district has such right for the school newspaper).

      I do think there’s been a strong exchange on Mr. Yelton’s letter, and for the most part a civil exchange of ideas. Let’s make sure we keep that exchange civil — and not personal.


      • TE Resident says:

        Thank-you Mike. I will keep the exchange civil–and not personal.

        I don’t know what the message in ( ) means. If you could explain, I would appreciate it. thanks

        • Mike McGann says:

          A few years back, there was some controversy about the Unionville High School paper, The Indian Post and whether the district should have prior review on the publication. Ultimately, the administration and board opted against doing so.

  7. TE Resident says:

    Hi Keith,

    I’m laughing out loud again. I knew you would want to correct “my numerous errors.” Good thing your around to straighten everyone out. What would these good people do without you?

    Thanks for your respectful reply to my comment. You say “I can understand why a parent in this district might imagine retribution,” they don’t have to imagine it, all they have to do is read your rebuttal to Mr. Yelton’s letter. It’s no wonder more citizens like Mr. Yelton don’t come forward to offer sound reasoning. Look at the retribution they would have to endure.

    Mr. Yelton was instructed by Mr. Sanville to file a RTK request. When Mr. Yelton followed those instructions he was denied the information he requested. Why did Mr. Sanville tell Mr. Yelton to file a RTK, when he knew all along he had no intention of giving Mr. Yelton the information he requested?

    Keith, why do you work so hard to undermine teachers pay and benefits yet when it comes to administrators, you’re the first one to come forward and justify not only their inflated salaries, but their raises and bonuses as well. Teachers could make the same exact arguments for higher salaries and bonuses just as you have for Mr. Sanville. Are you and Mr. Sanville friends? Maybe you have dinner together or play a round of golf or two. Do the same with a teacher, maybe you would then be more sympathetic to them too.

    Parents should share equally in the cost of extra curricular activities? The tax payer covers 85%? Keith, parents are tax payers. In my opinion, tax payer money should go to children’s programs, children’s activities, spec. ed. and any other area that benefits the children, not Mr. Sanvile’s already generous salary.

    Keith, I have come to realize that when someone doesn’t agree with your OPINION, it is deemed inaccurate and subject to well deserved criticism. Keith, that’s what an opinion is, an opinion. How do you vet an opinion. You viciously attacked Mr. Yelton because your argument has no merit so you resorted to anger. Your angry, and anger is really fear.

    • Kristin Hoover says:

      Way to go! You said many things that needed to be said and it was well done. Keith comes along and in his effort to defend himself and the board, makes your case and provides evidence to support the fact that you are right!!! Unfortunately, my teenage son and I are the poster children for the bullying that you take on when you openly disagree. Keith wants you to reveal yourself so that the Board and Administration can know who to bully!

      My son now attends a much better high school (124th in the nation) and you can take heart in the fact that Sanville’s downfall has already begun.

      • TE Resident says:

        Kristen, the only real hope for effective leadership, where officials truly serve the best interests of the children and citizen tax payers is term limits for school board directors. Directors like Keith get elected and they slowly but surely become completely co opted by supt.’s and administrators. Administrators “teach” Board members how things work and before you know it, officials think they have a profound understanding of how things work when in reality, they’re simply accepting the filtered, bias view of administrators. It’s sad. They start working for the administration and not the citizens. Term limits are the answer.

        I find it difficult to believe Ms. Do supports Mr. Knauss’ and Mr. Dupri’s rebuttal of Mr. Yelton’s letter to the editor.

  8. Keith Knauss says:

    Let me respond to the numerous errors in TE Resident’s post.
    First, I’m curious why TE Resident has to hide behind a pseudonym. I can understand why an employee or parent of this district might imagine retribution, but that excuse doesn’t apply in TE Resident’s case. Come into the sunshine TE Resident and take responsibility for your statements!
    Dr. Sanville’s Compensation
    My personal guideline for compensation is just enough to attract, retain and motivate excellent employees. When Dr. Sanville was hired 3 years ago he was new to the superintendent’s position and was paid accordingly. I believe his compensation package put him in the bottom quartile of superintendents in Chester County. His performance reviews from the Board and his employees (the so called 360 degree review) over the last 3 years have been excellent. The district has been through some difficult economic times, but the academic achievements of our students have remained high with guidance from Dr. Sanville. The proposed contract announced on Monday will place his compensation 7th out of the 12 superintendents in Chester County. I understand the “sticker shock” of a $30K raise, but this recognizes he has graduated from an unproven superintendent to a proven, excellent superintendent. He deserves a salary commensurate with his performance and in-line with the marketplace. One might ask TE Resident to direct his salary complaint to his own district (Tredyffrin Easttown) where his superintendent has a compensation package running over $300K.
    Dedicated Employees Being Outsourced
    There is an important difference between UCF’s outsourcing behavior and the behavior being used at other districts including Tredyffrin Easttown. Many districts are terminating employees and rehiring them, often at a lower salary, from an outsourcing firm in an effort to save money. The downside is possible labor strife and the personal anguish experienced by dedicated employees. UCF, on the other hand, is not terminating employees. Only open positions, either existing positions vacated voluntarily or newly created positions, are candidates for outsourcing. UCF may outsource an OPEN POSITION if it makes sense, but never the EMPLOYEE. Also, it bears mentioning that outsourcing is a temporary program subject to periodic review and limited to a maximum of 10% of our workforce. Thus, TE Resident’s statement that “dedicated employees are being outsourced” is false and inflammatory.
    Children Paying for Activities and Programs
    Of course they pay; they always have paid. I’ve always had trouble asking my neighbors to pay for my children’s after school activities. Sure, during-school activities should be fully covered by the taxpayer, but extracurricular activities are a in different category. My personal opinion is that parents should share equally in the cost of all extracurricular activities. Currently, student activity fees cover about 15% of extracurricular cost. The taxpayers cover 85%. I think it should eventually be a 50:50 sharing although many of my fellow board members disagree.
    Mr. Yelton’s Right to Know Request
    Mr. Yelton asked for a student’s personal information and was correctly denied. I would not want my daughters’ personal information in Mr. Yelton’s hands and I believe most parents would agree. In fact, student information is protected by Law and fulfilling Mr. Yelton’s request would have been illegal. Thus, TE Resident’s contention that UCF’s conduct in this matter is “unacceptable” is without merit.
    Vetting Opinion Letters
    I support Mr. Yelton’s right to express his opinion verbally or in writing anywhere however wrong or misleading it might be. One of our board members expressed his own personal viewpoint that Letters to the Editor might be vetted. I do not agree with that viewpoint. Thus, this is one of the few times TE Resident and I agree.
    Mr. Yelton’s Letter to the Editor
    TE Resident’s contention that Mr. Yelton has been bullied, labelled, marginalized, or ridiculed is without merit. There were no ad hominem attacks of Mr. Yelton. However, Mr. Yelton’s OPINION has correctly been scrutinized, deemed inaccurate and subjected to well-deserved criticism. To witness Mr. Yelton’s “creative” use of statistics one only need to reference a former letter to the Editor calling for larger class sizes.
    These are my opinions and may or may not represent the thinking of my fellow board members, other members of the staff or my neighbors.

  9. MarthaT says:

    Are you kidding me? $30,000! When I called the disrict his first year as superintendent to get a copy of the curriculum for one subject I was old Mr. Sanville had it as he was director of secondary education. A month later no one could find it. Now Mr. Nolen has it all in better order. Curriculum was a mess. There have been no follow up on several community questions – no replies either mail or phone avoidance. I don’t believe any community members, service staff or teachers were asked to give an evaluation of Mr. Sanville. If there was this forum, tell us how that went. We as the public would like to see how he was evaluated.
    He is “never better” but our schools have been much better. Yes Mr.Yelson is right my neighbor is a teacher and another is a service staff and both at different buildings say there is a lack of direction and motivation. Scores are good – thanks to the high push to achieve by students parents and the incredible teachers. Too much put on their plates with nothing removed.
    Now you want to deny or decrease health and retirement to the lowest paid employees! What? Stop bullying your community and employees and cut some other spending.

  10. TE Resident says:

    UCFSD is named #2 school district out of 458 other school districts because of the hard working, smart dedicated students in this district whose parents model achievement and demand excellence.

    It’s ludicrous that employees who benefit from these high salaries are the very people involved in the decision to increase taxes so they can continue to receive these salary increases when the very people who are paying them are experiencing lower income or no income at all.

    You mentioned global economic challenges, Mr. Sanville receives a $30,000 salary increase on top of his already generous salary, while dedicated employees are being outsourced and children are asked to pay for their activities and programs? This makes no sense.

    Because the students test scores are high, does not give the Board the right to bully and intimidate a tax paying citizen because he writes a letter to the editor and expresses his opinion as is his right as an American and a citizen of this district. The Board and the Administrators owe Mr. Yelton an apology.

    In this district if you dare go against the prevailing authority, you are marginalized and labeled a crazy kook. At best, if you do not bow to authority, and you dare to question the biased information presented, you are name called and ridiculed. Now they want to vet opinion letters. What is next?

    Please see the recent comment section to the right and click on Keith Knauss’ name. Best to read the entire thread.

    Keith has been posting on this site for 4 years (Keith, I know you’ll correct me if I’m wrong) and has mentioned that he wishes there were a site like this in U-CF to give citizens the opportunity to express their opinions. So please, come on over, and join the conversation! I appreciate Keith’s participation and would love to hear from his citizen, tax paying residents as well.

  11. Sandy Beach says:

    No school district is perfect, but UCFSD is still performing very well. Despite global economic challenges and possible morale issues as mentioned in a recent letter to the editor, UCFSD is named #2 school district out of 458 other school districts. This is due to the incredible dedication and hard work of every single district employee and support from many parents in this district. This score IS something to celebrate!

  12. TE Resident says:

    The Unionville School Board, a local PUBLIC body, is seeking prior view on opinions submitted by tax paying citizens? This is beyond comprehension. It is not warranted, has no merit, isn’t logical, is irresponsible and makes no sense. This is America. That is not how we do things here.

    Mr. Yelton’s letter was long past due. He followed instructions, filed a RTK, then was denied, after following instructions he was given by the administration only to be met with hostile name calling, blaming and ridicule for his trouble. This treatment of tax paying citizens by local PUBLIC officials is unacceptable and must stop.

    It’s no wonder more citizens do not speak up. They are bullied and intimidated when they do.

    Mr. Sanville gets a $30,000 raise when officials are outsourcing aides and paras and kids have to pay their own Crew fees? Something is wrong here. Citizens need to wake up!

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