MIDDLEBURG — In an emotional and blistering statement Monday evening, Midd-West School Board director Nancy Kroh called on the board to reinstate suspended administrator Daphne Snook while taking the board leadership to task for overstepping his authority and board members for bullying employees and one another.
Reading from a prepared five-page statement, Kroh addressed board president Victor Abate without identifying him by name.
“We are only authorized to act as a committee of nine. The only power a president has that other members do not have is the ability to run the meetings and the ability to name committees,” she said. “We have no power individually to go into the district to direct administration or teachers, or request information of them that is not distributed to all board members.”
Kroh added, “We have bullying by our board members against our employees and administrators, as well as our fellow board members.”
Abate and the other board members did not reply to the lengthy statement, which was met with loud applause from a crowd of about 40 people attending Monday night’s public meeting.
The Daily Item attempted to reach Abate for comment today, but he did not respond.
Kroh said she has been “misled” into making decisions, specifically regarding the April 14 unanimous vote to suspend Snook without pay from her $106,000-a-year position as assistant superintendent and director of curriculum, instruction and technology.
The board not only removed Snook from the job for allegedly breaching the district email system, but Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch was asked to investigate whether the breach was illegal.
A police investigation later cleared Snook, who remains on suspension and has since filed a federal lawsuit against district solicitor Orris Knepp III and eight of the board directors who approved her removal.
In her public statement Monday, Kroh said she was not informed that law enforcement was being brought in to investigate the alleged breach and has since learned that Snook did nothing wrong by monitoring the emails.
“Therefore, let us reinstate her immediately and stop trying to micromanage the position,” she said.
Snook’s suspension, coupled with other high-profile controversies that have led taxpayers to petition the county court to remove Kroh, Abate and director Ronald Wilson from their elected positions, have brought ridicule to the district, she said.
“All the while, as our district sinks further and further into shame and is faced with the very real possibility of costing taxpayers thousands, perhaps millions more in additional lawsuits, the solicitor and attorneys are singing ca-ching, ca-ching, all the way to the bank,” Kroh said. “And all those taxpayer dollars spent on lawsuits are not going toward educating children. I see that as robbing our children of their right to the best education we can provide.”
She ended her comments by urging the board to work with school administrators on developing better communication and healing the rifts that have caused many to fear for their jobs.
“Let’s take up the challenge issued by our administrators for an on-going dialogue,” Kroh said.