The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Snyder County

April 17, 2014

Petitions target 'toxic few' on Midd-West board

— MIDDLEBURG — More than 400 names have been gathered on two petitions to remove a pair of Midd-West school directors after some members of the public claimed the district has been in disarray for quite some time.

On Thursday, a press release was sent out by the Midd-West school board suggesting a headline in Thursday’s edition of The Daily Item was misleading. Board members also sent out a press release Wednesday regarding the reasons behind the suspension and criminal investigation involving former acting superintendent Daphne Snook.

“The headline and articles appearing in The Daily Item on April 17, 2014, which stated that the board of directors of the Midd-West School District has changed its position in relation to the reason for Ms. Snook’s suspension are incorrect,” the release stated. “As a point of clarification, Ms. Snook’s alleged actions involve much more than ‘briefly monitoring board email correspondence’ within the purview of the Midd West School District’s policy on acceptable Internet use.”

That was Thursday.

On Wednesday, the release said, “While the reason cannot be disclosed publicly at this point in time, the board wants to make clear to the public that Ms. Snook’s suspension was not in any way related to curriculum decisions she made nor was it the result of her ‘briefly monitoring board email correspondence within the purview of the Midd West School District’s policy on acceptable Internet use.’”

On Thursday, the new release stated: “On the evening her suspension began, Ms. Snook was advised of her alleged misconduct during a telephone call with seven of the nine board members present during the call. Notwithstanding Ms. Snook’s claims to the contrary, she is aware of the reason for her suspension. Snook replied to questions from The Daily Item on Wednesday and explained she did not have anything in writing from the board and that any conversations with the board did not lead her to believe she did anything wrong.”

On the advice of her attorney, Snook declined further comment Thursday night.

After Monday’s board meeting when it was announced Snook was being suspended, members of the public began to lash out at directors and one of those was concerned resident Jennifer Arbogast.

She began circulating petitions to remove board President Victor Abate and director Ron Wilson, and by Thursday, those petitions had more than 400 signatures.

“We are speaking to legal counsel now,” Arbogast said. “We will be filing this in Snyder County Court.”

Arbogast did want to clarify a few things about the petitions, however.

“The petitions to have Abate and Wilson removed from the school board are not solely because of the suspension of Daphne Snook, nor are they a direct result of the charges against Nancy Kroh or the charges against Dr. (Wesley) Knapp,” Arbogast wrote. “While all of these items are part of the dysfunction, they are only a part of the entire picture, which shows that the Midd-West school board is being taken over by a corrupt few.”

She continued: “While the Midd-West school board is a solid unit, there are a few members who are truly interested in the interest of our children and their educational needs. These petitions and any further actions toward the board are to remove the toxic few from a wonderful group.”


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