Rose Tree Media district weighs proposal to release unpopular superintendent

    Rose Tree Media School District in Delaware County has made headlines this year over the rancor  between parents and Superintendent Jim Wigo.

    Last week, acting school board president William O’Donnell said Wigo has proposed stepping down — in 2017.

    Many parents say that’s not soon enough.

    Liz Corra is one of the members of RTM Strong, a parent group that has been taping and sharing their testimony at school board meetings and organizing for Wigo’s removal.

    “I personally and I know I can speak for a number of people, a bipartisan coalition … that feel strongly that we need a new superintendent and that what he proposed doesn’t go far enough,” she said.

    Parent Robin Anderson echoed that sentiment.

    “I think it is two years too late,” she said. “I think our community has suffered enough over the last eight months, and it’s time to move forward.”

    Anderson’s son Colin, a ninth-grader at Penncrest, helped author a petition for RTM Strong calling for Wigo’s dismissal, as well as that of Human Resources Director Anne Callahan.

    That petition garnered 800 parent signatures in a district with about 3,700 students, the group said.

    Wigo has been superintendent since 2011, but the calls for his resignation didn’t really begin until January, when he first attempted to fire popular Indian Lane Elementary principal Bill Bennett over accusations of poor management and a hot temper. Those are some of the same accusations lobbed at Wigo, in addition to mishandling and misrepresenting a contagious disease event in the school and berating a 6-year-old student.

    Hearings on Bennett’s dismissal were held last spring, and the principal was ultimately paid $300,000 to settle the dispute and release Bennett.

    Wigo and O’Donnell declined to comment or share additional details of the superintnendent’s proposal. Parents calling for an earlier resignation say they hope there will be a negotiation period in which they can have input on the proposal.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.