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.

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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