Ginny Rhine, 32, Grand Avenue
Seeking three-year term on Toms River Regional School Board.
My name is Ginny (Smith) Rhine. I am 32 years old and I live on Grand Ave in Toms River. I am a homemaker and mother of three small children. My oldest attends Washington Street Elementary School.
Please briefly explain what professional and civic/volunteer experience you have. Feel free to include job experience, awards, or schooling.
I am a former teacher of math and AP Computer Science at Toms River High School North. (I voluntarily left teaching in 2005, when my son was born.) I attended Drew University on a full academic scholarship and graduated summa cum laude with a double major in three years. I am the Central Jersey Vice Chair for Your Grandmother’s Cupboard, a charity that provides clothing and personal items to people in need.
What are your key concerns about the Toms River schools?
My key concerns about the Toms River Schools are avoiding corruption, ensuring that taxpayer money is used wisely to benefit the children of our district, appointing honest professionals with our best interests at heart, making sure our hiring process is fair and consistent, and, most importantly, bringing transparency and getting the community involved.
What issues do you hope to address in the coming term? And what do you think should be done to resolve those issues?
We have two main problems in our district. One, we have a lack of transparency. We need to televise our meetings and get the public involved in our schools. It’s a lot harder to get away with something like Ritacco did if people are paying attention. Even if no one is really watching, just the idea that someone could be watching is a deterrent. We received bad advice and need to replace the attorneys, consultants and advisors who could have helped stop Ritacco but were asleep at the wheel. And secondly, we need to pay strict attention to our budget. If we create a Citizen’s Budget Advisory committee, we can seek public input into the budget process and examine the full budget line by line. Right now, even the Board members are not doing that.
What motivated you to run this year?
I decided to run because I realized there were problems in our district. But not until, I started running did I realize the extent of our problems. I am shocked and appalled at the way our district has been managed both before Ritacco was indicted and since.
How do you plan to serve the school board and the residents of Toms River in a meaningful way?
I have experienced our school district as a student, as a teacher, as a taxpayer and as a parent. This gives me a unique insight into the needs of our district.
Anything to add:
Mike Ritacco is in jail, but the district is still being run using his model. The administration is picking sides in elections and resorting to underhanded tactics of intimidation. Our superintendent was assistant superintendent under Ritacco. Our board attorney was Ritacco’s personal attorney. This is not moving forward. We need fresh blood on the board, a new perspective, people who will enact the reforms that the taxpayers and children of Toms River deserve.