The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


May 14, 2014

Judge denies injunction request in Midd-West School Board matter

MIDDLEBURG —  MIDDLEBURG — A Snyder County judge has declined to act on a request for a preliminary injunction to stop the Midd-West School Board from making decisions, including hiring a new superintendent, while petitions are pending to remove two elected directors.

Judge Michael T. Hudock said he could not grant the request made by Mount Pleasant Mills resident Jenn Arbogast on Monday because it was improperly filed as a brief and not as a complaint.

“Therefore, the court has nothing before it which would warrant the issuance of an order or scheduling a hearing,” he said.

Hudock left the door open, saying he would act on an “appropriate petition” if it is presented to the court.

Arbogast said she was still considering her options Wednesday.

She made the request to the court on behalf of residents who’ve expressed concern with the direction the school board has been heading since last fall when Superintendent Wesley Knapp resigned instead of responding to the board’s allegations of incompetence followed by Acting Superintendent Daphne Snook’s suspension without pay in April for breaching the district’s email system.

Snook was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing for the email breach last week by District Attorney Michael Piecuch, but her future in the district remains in limbo until the school board decides whether to reinstate or terminate her.

Upset and frustrated that the board is pursuing personal agendas and unwilling to explain their actions to the public, a petition endorsed by about 300 taxpayers was filed in court to remove board president Victor Abate and director Ronald Wilson from elected office. Both of them have a few more days to respond to the petition before the judge will act.

In the meantime, the board has narrowed the statewide search for a new superintendent from 16 to six candidates and aims to fill the position next month following a second round of interviews with the finalists.

Another decision Arbogast had hoped to stop the board from making was the appointment of a new director to fill the unexpired term of Scott Norman through November 2015.

But on Monday night, the board surprised many when it cast a unanimous vote to put Beavertown resident Christopher Nesbit in the vacant seat.

Less than two weeks earlier, the board was unable to cast a majority vote for Nesbit and two other board candidates.

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