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School Board Meeting: Bus Drivers' Outcry, Ritacco Statement and More

A rundown of the top news from last night's board meeting

reputation was victim to the collusion of its former superintendent and insurance broker, who pleaded guilty last month to federal charges related to a $2 million bribery scheme.

These were among the points of a multi-page statement read by Board President Ed Gearity that condemned former superintendent Michael Ritacco. The district is aggressively reforming itself to ensure it would never happen again and is also aggressively trying to recover moneys taken from Toms River Regional.

“As a board we feel betrayed by the former Superintendent, and the entire community was betrayed by the former Superintendent. What happened here was not a failure of the system, it was a failure of an individual and a violation of the trust imparted to him, both statutorily and in practice, by the very nature of his position.

The statement was met with audience applause. Later in the meeting residents asked why the district had Ritacco serving as both the superintendent and the business administrator, despite the recommendation of the state commission of investigation to the contrary, and said in their opinion this was part of the problem.

The complete statement can be found .

Transportation Workers Decry Privatization Idea

A large contingent of the district’s transportation and cafeteria workers came out in protest of recent statements by one board member who suggested the district explore privatizing the departments.

While board member Alex Pavliv said he was motivated by potential savings he felt the district could see, the transportation and cafeteria employees decried the idea, fearing they’d lose jobs, and that the district’s high level of service would suffer, they said.

Although a large number of workers lined up to speak, early in the public comment portion board members Ben Giovine and Gus Kakavas stated that the district had not been exploring privatization, and urged the board to draft a statement that showed its support for the current structure. The statement of support passed, with Pavliv voting no.

Professional Contracts Approved

The school board agreed to reappoint or extend the contracts of all current professionals. The annual contracts were set to expire this month.

While the recommended passed, board members Pavliv, Giovine and Loreen Torrone voted no to some of the contracts, such as the reappointment of R.C. Shea as workers compensation attorney.

End of Year Honors

Last night's school board meeting began with a large number of student and staff awards, highlighting students' scholastic, athletic and community achievements.

In addition, the district honored its 2012 Teachers of the Year and the Transportation Employees of the Year.

Check back for additional stories and more in-depth coverage of last night’s school board meeting from Toms River Patch.

A-Ball May 16, 2012 at 10:52 AM
I dont agree with Pavliv on this one. I think it should stay the way it is. These are hard working emplyees who do not earn big money. Calm down buddy or your positive reputation is going to be tarnished.
Keith Bryant May 16, 2012 at 11:51 AM
I've Seen some towns in past went to privatize services and tbhe 1st 2-3 years of concracts were money saving, but after contract ran out, price jumped thru the roof and the town had to go out and purchase new equiptment and hire new employees to do the jobs that were let go costing the town more money than the privatetization was worth.The board goes private and sets a contract up for this the tax payers in long run will pay. when contract runs out and costs go thru the roof and they decide to go back, the district will have to purchase new equiptment and have to hire new employees. this will cost the school district more money than what it was worth. don't mess with something that works. I've seen it fail and don't want to see this happen to our school students or the tax payers of Toms River School District. If its working, Don't try to fix it it will cost dearly
JD May 16, 2012 at 12:02 PM
The only cost savings that will probably be realized is the benefits package... Private companies don't have healthcare or pension plans for their employees.
jason May 16, 2012 at 02:18 PM
go alex pavliv !!! cut cut cut cut 220 million dollar school budgit , cut deep. i have 2 children in tr schools. and i still say cut cut cut / for too long we just spent money and let people like mike the snake ritacco its time to cut cut cut
RPtoTR May 16, 2012 at 04:52 PM
My children are long graduated and the service provided by the Bus Drivers and other "non-professional" employees of TR board of ed was very good. Far better than the track record of the administrators. We never see in the news children left on the bus or missing as we do with other districts that contract out these services.
Bob Hockenfrocken May 16, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Please, intelligent comments only...thank you.
Robert Bressman May 16, 2012 at 05:22 PM
The words of Mr. Gearity seem meaningless at this point, there were two SCI reports of abuses by the school board under Ritacco's administration, the free rein given Ritacco by the school board has resulted in the taxpayers footing a bill for this kind of behavior. Every school board member under Ritacco should have resigned when the truth about what was going on came out. Ritacco's girl friend, the money spent at the 1144 cafe to keep it afloat, his patnerships with the town, forced labor at the toms river fests, building houses and land deals for people in the administration, tax free annuities, cars, clothes, sick days and Mr. Gearity is wants to condemn Ritacco? take a look in the Mirror.
jeff May 16, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Cut at the top, get rid of a few high paying positions instead of 300 lower paying jobs.
jeff May 16, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Robert, sounds like Rittaco was the fall guy and theirs a lot more people that should be investigated.
Robert Bressman May 16, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Jeff, if you read those reports the BOE should have definitley gone down with Ritacco
JD May 16, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Robert... It's called breach of fiduciary duties of the BOE... The were and still are rubber stampers... there is no check and balance regardless what they say... when was the last time you saw Ritacco 9 or Ritacco 6 vote NO.
Sandy May 16, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Whos bright idea was it to build another Softball/Baseball field on North Bay... especially in this economy... save the money, lower our taxes... who has the right just to approve and spend spend spend?
1stcav May 17, 2012 at 12:01 AM
See the Mayor on the ball field and his spend, spend and spend some more, instead of fixing what we already bought and payed for, but falling apart park infrastructure !
lizzy May 17, 2012 at 12:24 AM
FYI...his "girlfriend" is still employed by TRBOE as "manager" @ 1144!!
lizzy May 17, 2012 at 12:32 AM
FYI..his "girlfriend" still employed with TRBOE! she must have a good lawyer!
Greg May 17, 2012 at 12:49 PM
JD, as you can see that the remaining "Ritacco 6" are still towing the Ritacco line and rubber stamping any and everything that Roselli wants. The only way that we are going to see any change is if there are people who are willing to run against these people and run for the right reasons, and in my opinion the right reasons are to bring the district back to the greatness that this district once was, then next reason would be to put the taxpayers, teachers and students first. Don't run to get on the board so you can guarantee a job for yourself, friend, or family member because that is what got us here in the first place. Also, do not give out these long term contracts to the super, asst. supers because if they aren't doing their jobs then they must go. Here is a question that I am throwing out to all here on these message boards...do we need all of these asst. supers? Would it not be more prudent of us to put some of that money that we are paying these people back into the classroom? So, when you go out and vote this November please remember what these people have done not only to the reputation of this once well regarded district but, what they have done to the teachers, children and the taxpayers!
JD May 17, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Some things never change... I just found out.... 3 BOE members voted for some admin and teachers to renew another year or grant tenure.... and these 3 BOE members have a conflict of interest and not permitted to vote!!! that would have ended into a stalemate of votes for renewing some admin!!! some things with Ritacco 6 never change...
JD May 17, 2012 at 01:04 PM
That is a Muni issue 1stcav... not a school issue... but the softball field were necessary for the girls... softball has been growing significantly in the town... they didn't have fields like the boys... playing at ymca, etc. btw.. I don't have a daughter playing softball (but did for a year a few years ago)
Greg May 17, 2012 at 02:51 PM
JD, you are absolutely correct!!! Unless the sheeples of this district realize that these people are only there for the benefit of themselves and their family and friends things are never ever going to change! The residents need to accept some of the blame also though, when you only have the same 6 or 8 people come out and speak you know what happens, these people are just called the town criers and that they only want to look the bad that this district is doing. Never mind that these people are only trying to make this district the district that it once was. Please to everyone out here in blog land PLEASE remember what the Ritacco 6 has done not only to the reputation of this district but, what they have done to the teachers, students, and least of all the taxpayers of this district. The Ritacco 6 have many of their friends and family working for the district as do many of the administrators. Please let us get rid of the "dead wood" and try with some new fresh and invigorated people on the board! Like other people have stated many time before GET RID OF THE INCUMBENTS!
Stan Buchwald May 21, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Its a total shame,Greg and JD but With comments like yours and your half-truths the sheeples(whatever they are), will vote for any half-whit that just shouts the Ritacco name loud enough to get peoples anger up. Did either of you look into the appointments that JD spoke of ? I totally agree that spending in the district should be scaled back,I too agree that the large number of administrators should be looked into as well.But when you keep lumping the current board with the former superintandent,its very unfair. There has been alot of good things done for the students and people of this town. Mr.Ritacco's lap dog,The former BOE pres is no longer there.To expect these board members to start letting people go cutting budgets and cutting services is unfair to them and the town. To allow the opposite as Mr.Pavliv would have you believe is the best option, privitize our school service workers and sell off its holdings for a quick windfall is not a smart option at all. You guys sound like very smart people,maybe even have a few good ideas of your own,not just standing on your soapbox telling the people whats wrong. Be part of the solution,don't compound the problems. There are still some very good people on the BOE that now out from the constraints of the Dark Lord, can do some real good. IT CAN ALSO GET WORSE !!!!! And remember,when and if your school portion of your taxes ever goes down the town council will be there to add it to town services. You can bet on that EVERYONE!!!!!
Justin August 13, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I'm with Stan. Now you are seeing how good Ritacco was for the district. He kept our taxes low, and being a business man kept our schools injected with cash and our district phosphorous. Sit there and knock Ritacco all you want, I like the guy. He was FANTASTIC for our district as far as bring in alternate revenue streams, and turned it into a business where lots of people benefited in terms of jobs created, etc etc. You people all forget that. Instead choosing to spout lies and stand on your soapboxes when NOW the district will fall to crap. Its happening already with budget cuts, layoffs, privatizing? I mean really? Ritacco would never let this happen.
dennis cassidy September 16, 2012 at 03:32 AM
The BOE are a bunch of kiss -a jerk s who are looking for favors to benefit themselves or family members, thats the only reas During the dietrich-ritacco years in toms river. Al dietrich, vinny dvorak And the their cronies made ritacco look like an amataeur.TR schools Has been a haven for these theives for years. rs. It needs to be monitored Dietrich, prior supt, is still tapping The system, with all his phony relatives on the TR schools payroill, Dietrichs crew are scumbags and need to get off the payroll before They get fat pensions. Look at BOE kernasovic, kakavis, longo, sadegehi they all have family Members benefiting Dietrich, supt prior to Ritacco had

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