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Seaside Park Confirms: High Schoolers Will Attend Toms River Regional

Borough discussing with attorneys who picks up $10,000 tab for each student

The nine who are already attending Toms River schools won't be going back to the Central Regional school district, Borough Administrator Robert Martucci said today.

Martucci said the roughly $10,000 in tuition for each student will be paid to in the fall.

The students had previously attended Toms River schools , under an arrangement made back when former Toms River schools superintendent Michael J. Ritacco was at the helm. Ritacco, who lives in  Seaside Park, is for federal corruption charges. He resigned after his arrest in October.

The parents of the nine students requested that their children be allowed to attend Toms River schools, he said.

"Our children will continue to go to Toms River," Martucci said. "These children will get paid for. These children will have their tuition paid."

But Martucci declined to discuss just who or what entity would be picking up the tuition tab.

"Right now that's being discussed with our attorney ... on how it can be done and it will be done," he said.

Toms River Regional schools Superintendent Frank Roselli that the previous tuition-free arrangement would end. The district will have a new sending-receiving agreement with Seaside Park, Roselli said.

But Seaside Park has been a sending district of the Central Regional school district since Central Regional was formed back in 1954. Prior to that, Seaside Park students went to Toms River schools. But the Toms River district grew so quickly, there was no longer any room for Seaside Park students, so they ended up going to Central Regional.

Seaside Park paid Central Regional through the "turnstile" method, or per capita, until 1976, just like the other four towns in the district.

But things changed in 1976, after the state Legislature changed the tuition payment method for regional school districts from head counts to a formula based on an individual town's property values. The tuition payment change was gradually phased in over a five-period.

Seaside Park later filed suit against Central Regional in 2007, claiming that the tuition method was unconstitutional. But a judge later ruled against Seaside Park and dismissed the case. Thirteen individual Seaside Park residents appealed the ruling in October 2010. The matter is still pending.

Seaside Park has tried to discuss a "phase-out" of borough students from the Central Regional district for several years, he said.

"We have an obligation to our community to not allow them to overpay for education," Martucci said.

Seaside Park closed the Seaside Park Elementary School last year and now has a sending arrangement for K-6 students with Toms River Regional. Former County Schools Superintendent Bruce Greenfield recommended in 2008 that Seaside Park align itself with a K-12 district. Central Regional accepts grades 7-12.

"If you are looking at education, you have to go to a K-12," Martucci said. "It has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with what's right and what's wrong. Eventually every Seaside Park child will be in Toms River."

The Berkeley Township Council passed a resolution at the Feb. 22 meeting authorizing special counsel to file an action before the New Jersey state Commissioner of Education against the Toms River Regional Board of Education, Ritacco, and the other constituent municipalities and boards of education of the Central Regional School District.

The Township Council is seeking an order from the DOE commissioner state to include Seaside Park students in grades 7 through 12 —  who currently attend schools in the Toms River school district — in the count of students in the Application for State School Aid [ASSA] . The AASA is submitted each school year by the Central Regional School District to the state Department of Education.

Not including the nine students in Central's ASSA count would increase Central Regional's tax levy on the taxpayers of the four other sending towns by $421,000 beginning on July 1, Berkeley Township Council President Karen Davis has said.

R. Ray June 04, 2011 at 11:38 PM
Mrs. R. Ray - To my limited knowledge on this subject, I was told there is a lot more than you would be lead to believe. Their problem is that the Current School Funding Formula for public schools does not please the representatives of Seaside Park so they hired a very expensive Lawyer to fight the system and want out of the Central Regional District. The very School District that they originally helped to formulate when they were no longer allowed to or be part of the Toms River District because the Toms River schools needed the room for their own students as the town grew then.
carol June 04, 2011 at 11:58 PM
The parents should reimburse TR Regional Schools for the tuition independently similar to residents in TR who pay their individual taxes on their property assessments and if they prefer to send their child to a private school other than the public school in their town they are required to pay the tuition. TR residents pay their school taxes for the public schools and than pay separately for the private school. NO DISCOUNTS! The choice is in the hands of the parents who made the decision to send their child to another school districts. Presently, SP is charging tuition for kindergarten students attending thier school at this very moment. Why should SP be treated differently? Are the 65 students attending our school system presenting reimbursing our school system? The majority of the SP students are attending Washingtron Street School. WHY?????
Ken G June 05, 2011 at 04:03 AM
Seaside Park closed the Seaside Park Elementary School last year and now has a sending arrangement for K-6 students with Toms River Regional. Former County Schools Superintendent Bruce Greenfield recommended in 2008 that Seaside Park align itself with a K-12 district. Central Regional accepts grades 7-12. "If you are looking at education, you have to go to a K-12," Martucci said. "It has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with what's right and what's wrong. Eventually EVERY Seaside Park child will be in Toms River." EVERY STUDENT-NOT ONE, BUT ALL
Tired of the status quo June 06, 2011 at 07:10 PM
Wait a minute!!! Why should the residents of the Toms River Regional School District have to pay for these kids from Seaside Park? We (and that is a collective we) never invited these kids to come here. It was the work of our former Super Michael J. Ritacco and Carol Kane who cooked this up. It was to the benefit of those who live in Seaside Park. Here we the Toms River Regional School taxpayers again were left holding the bag and footing the bill for this maneuver. Quaint that it just happened after Michael J. Ritacco moved from Toms River to Seaside Park. Doesn't anyone else find that a little strange? And here is the kicker this happened with the FULL SUPPORT of the BOE (Linda Garvey, Betty Vasil and Merra Malik) and our current Super one Frank Roselli. I also would like to know who is going to be not only paying the tuition for these kids to come here and who is going to be the company to accept the tuition so we the taxpayers can see that this money is coming in.
Gretta June 09, 2011 at 10:29 PM
Every time I go to back to school night my kids classes are packed in like sardines - so even 9 or 10 students matter - especially when they are going for FREE. I would still like to know why SSP doesn't have to back pay. Why about summer sports and trans on our dime? Is there any summer programs or extended school year this summer for FREE? Again, how much is special education going to cost and how much for transportation. Why can't Toms River just be normal and educate our own district?

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