Long Island Superintendent Ousted in Grade-Fixing Scandal

The Bellport High School board voted to buy out Joseph Cipp.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Long Island school superintendent Joseph Cipp agreed to resign Wednesday night amid a grade-changing scandal. He maintains he never ordered any grades to be changed but said the issue had become expensive and distracting to the district. News 4's Katy Tur reports.

    A Long Island school superintendent and former football coach was ousted from his job after being accused of fixing a former student's grades in order to get him into Syracuse University with an NCAA scholarship.

    Joseph Cipp Jr. was forced to step down as South County Central School District superintendent in Suffolk County Wednesday night after the Bellport High School board voted to buy him out.

    Under the deal, the board will pay Cipp his $274,000-a-year salary through May 2, 2014 in a lump sum of $545,280, according to Newsday. The deal ends before his contract expires.

    Cipp spent more than 30 years as the coach of Bellport High School's football team before he was superintendent. Earlier this month, an investigation found that he helped inflate the grades of star football player Ryan Sloan in order to get him a scholarship to Syracuse University.

    He said in a statement that he "never asked or directed anyone to change any student's grades." He said he was not fighting the decision because it was expensive and distracting to the district.

    The longtime coach had his share of supporters at the meeting Wednesday.

    "He deserves not to have his name put out there as it was because I don't believe he was capable of any of this, or did any of this," said Amy Price, a parent.

    Three members of the 10-person board voted against the settlement Wednesday. Their disapproval was met with some cheers from the crowd, including parent Joanne Long Merrill, who believes Cipp should have resigned outright.

    "My concern is, what about the other child who was really getting the good grades to go to Syracuse University?" said Merrill, of East Patchogue.

    The investigator reportedly recommended Cipp be fired. The board argued the lawsuit from a firing would be more expensive than just paying Cipp through 2014.

    Sloan, now a freshman at Syracuse, has said he improved his grades through hard work.

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