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L.I. School Superintendent Accused Of Fixing Grades Hands In Resignation, But Gets $545,000

Many People Are Wondering How Joseph Cipp Jr. Gets To Keep 2 Years Of Salary
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Joe Cipp Jr.

The former superintendent of a Long Island school district, whose name adorns the field at one high school, resigned on March 21, 2012, after being accused of fixing the grades of a football player. (Photo: CBS 2)

BELLPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A hefty severance deal has been reached involving a school boss accused of “fixing” an athlete’s grades on Long Island. The school superintendent has agreed to resign, but will continue to be paid for two years.

The South Country Central School District voted to accept the resignation of its superintendent, who is accused of raising a football star’s grades to get him a college scholarship, reports CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff.

Joseph Cipp Jr. will resign with $545,000, his salary for the next two years, but questions linger over his role in getting Ryan Sloan into Syracuse University.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On The Story

Some think the deal sweeps the scandal under the rug.

“There has been a conspiracy in our school district and it’s not in the best interest of the taxpayers or our children,” school board member Lisa DiSanto Grossman said.

One man said he knows grades were changed. He was asked to make the changes, refused, and was fired as principal four days later. He said the message was clear to him.

“The message to me clearly was that this particular student had to have a particular grade and I was approached by particular individuals and asked as to my influence over certain people,” Kevin O’Connell said.

Cipp, a legendary Long Island football coach who later became superintendent, was accused of changing Sloan’s grades in math health and gym. The decision to let Cipp resign with a huge payout has this football-driven community divided.

“If you and I did something wrong and had to slowly quietly resign, we’d … we wouldn’t have anything, no benefits,” one woman said.

“I know that Joe is a good man and I don’t think all the evidence has come to the surface yet,” an older man added.

“That large sum to keep someone out does not benefit education,” another person added.

The school board president said the decision to pay Cipp more than half a million dollars to leave was reached because if he had been fired and sued that would have cost far more.

So now the community may never know what an internal investigation into the scandal found. The board has dubbed the report confidential.

Gusoff reached out to the resigning superintendent, but he did not immediately respond.

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