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Seaside Heights Drops Toms River Superintendent

Ritacco scandal had impact, officials said

former Toms River Regional superintendent Michael J. Ritacco was one of the reasons the Seaside Heights Board of Education decided to go with Central Regional Superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides instead, a board official said.

"Nobody wants to be associated with Toms River anymore, because of the whole Ritacco situation," Seaside Heights Board Vice-President Todd Genty said this morning.

The five-member school board voted unanimously Monday night to name the popular Parlapanides as "shared superintendent" for the one-school district, he said.

"The last year has been very rocky because of the indictment of Michael Ritacco," Genty said. "It was time to part. We just want to get away from Toms River completely."

The switch will also translate into savings for the 120-student Seaside Heights Elementary School. The district was paying a Toms River principal $122,000 a year to oversee the small school, said Genty.

"It's a little school," he said. "I don't need a full-time principal for 120 kids."

The move will take place on July 1. Parlapanides will not receive any additional salary for taking over the Seaside district, Genty said.

The board plans to advertise for a new principal, but at a lower salary. The district will also share Central Regional Business Administrator Kevin O'Shea, which means more savings to put into student programs, Genty said.

"We will hire a principal at a lower rate," he said.

The move will also streamline the curriculum for Seaside Heights students, who eventually move onto Central Regional Middle School in seventh grade, Genty said.

"We might as well keep the kids in the same district," he said. "We don't go to Toms River."

Parlapanides last night commended Toms River Regional for "a job well done over the past several years."

"But you can't compare a K-6 curriculum to a K-12 curriculum which will identify weaknesses and then work to remediate those weaknesses," he said. "Everyone here at Central Regional is excited about working with Seaside Heights and are looking forward to a very bright future."

Central Regional has five sending towns - Berkeley, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, Island Heights and Ocean Gate.

Parlapanides also wants to apply for the soon-to-be vacant superintendent position in the Berkeley Township school district.

Ritacco pleaded to mail fraud and conspiracy to impede the IRS - two of the 27 charges he was facing - on April 5. He admitted his role in years of corruption at the school district, where as much as $2.5 million in bribes were allegedly passed between Ritacco, insurance brokers and intermediaries.

Rob Glantz, IRS Crimininal Investigations spokesperson from New Jersey, confirmed that as part of the plea Ritacco will forfeit $1 million dollars, his 2010 Mercedes e550, and $8,960 from his Seaside Park home found as part of an FBI raid.

Ritacco is slated to be sentenced on July 12. He could face between 11 to 14 years in jail time, authorities have said.

The board's decision means that Parlapanides will replace Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent Frank Roselli.

Students from the Seaside Heights Elementary School move on to the Central Regional Middle School in seventh grade. Central Regional has five sending towns - Berkeley, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, Island Heights and Ocean Gate.

Seaside Heights was already a sending district for Central, but was headed by Roselli in a shared agreement with Toms River Regional. Previously the one-school district had former Toms River superintendent Michael Ritacco as the superintendent.

The Hugh J. Boyd Elementary, with about 200 students, is the only school in the town. While Central Regional has multiple towns making up the district, so does Toms River Regional — comprised of Toms River, South Toms River, Beachwood and Pine Beach. Toms River Regional is the fourth largest district in the state. The school's website still links to Toms River Regional.

The previous agreement was to have the Toms River Regional Superintendent serve as the superintendent of Seaside Heights School District. Seaside Park has a similar agreement.

Roselli serves as the superintendent for the school district, which closed its elementary school in 2010. Previous to Roselli becoming superintendent at Toms River Regional, Ritacco served as the Seaside Park superintendent.

Greg April 26, 2012 at 11:45 AM
That would be nice, it would save the Toms River Regional taxpayers quite a bit of money. We would not be paying for the (according to our BOE ) 11 kids that are coming to Toms River Schools for free.
JD April 26, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Greg, Actually the other way around... albeit kids from Seaside Park go to TR Schools free, TRSchools get a "per headcount" state aid. All it does in increase classroom size and no additional teachers. That is why Central is pissed... if students don't go to Central, they lose that per headcount state aid costing Central property owners more (as they don't add/cut teachers).
Can't shut me up April 26, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Good then we in Toms River won't be stuck educating these kids for free.
Brian Fitzpatrick April 26, 2012 at 09:24 PM
I'm not sure that limiting the state to 21 districts would be too unmanageable. If you have a county superintendent (which is a position that actually exists today), then have Assistant Superintendents responsible for five-10 towns each, that would still be a huge savings, even if you pay them commesurate with their workload. For example, Monmouth County has 54 towns. If you paid a county Superintendent $300K a year, and 10 Assistant Superintendents (each responsible for five or so towns) $200K a year, that's $2.3M a year. Right now, not including special districts, assuming each town's boss makes $150K a year (using round numbers), that's $8.1M in Superintendents alone, just in Monmouth County. Right off the bat, you'd save 75%. Home rule is what's killing these towns, and it ain't the teachers that are responsible. It's the overhead.
Justin May 14, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Wow.. This will end up being SO bad for Seaside Heights.. They don't realize how good they had it with Toms River schools. Central Regional doesn't have a clue on how to run this school. I feel bad for all those kids and teachers there. Horrible move.

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