The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 12, 2012

Knapp takes 4% raise in back pay after schools close

— MIDDLEBURG — Wesley Knapp, the Midd-West School District superintendent who accepted a salary freeze for two consecutive years, will get $4,400 back from one of those years after school directors approved a 4 percent increase to his pay retroactive to Dec. 1, 2011.

Midd-West faced a $1.8 million budget gap for the 2012-13 school year, which forced the district to close two elementary schools, consolidate two middle schools, cut programs and furlough seven teachers and 23 other staff members.

Directors at their Dec. 3 meeting OK’d the pay increase, which would bring Knapp’s salary to $114,400.

The Midd-West leader joined some Valley superintendents in March 2011 who told school boards to freeze their pay to help reduce budget shortfalls as a result of Gov. Tom Corbett’s cuts to education in his first spending plan.

“I took a voluntary freeze for two years,” Knapp said Tuesday night. “I will accept this one.”

Funds were tight at Midd-West the previous two years, Knapp said.

“We weren’t sure if we would have to lay off teachers here,” he said. “I felt life would go on for me. I wanted to make sure everyone was taken care of first. A good leader does that. We wanted to make sure everything went as we hoped it would.”

Midd-West faced a $3.7 million deficit for the 2011-12 school year. Teachers and administrators accepted a pay freeze, which resulted in a savings of $544,000 from educators and $35,413 from officials.

In June 2011, the board adopted a $30.18 million budget, which raised taxes by $160 for the average homeowner.

“When (directors) did offer (the retroactive raise last week), I did take it,” Knapp said.

Read more of this story in Wednesday’s edition of The Daily Item.