BOE Calls For Independent Investigation Of Tuition Scandal

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Published: April 6, 2016 @ 6:00 AM EDT

After a two-and-a-half hour closed session at last night’s Board Of Education (BOE) meeting, the board returned to the open public meeting and had BOE Attorney Jennifer Osborne read a hand-carried resolution into the record. Mrs. Osborne simply read, “The Board appoints Peter V. Fallon, Esq. for the purpose of conducting a special district investigation.”

The Board Attorney then did a roll call of the six remaining BOE members at 11 o’clock at night. By unanimous vote, the Board appointed an independent investigation to look into Robert Gordon principal Frances Kenny having an out-of-district relative attend her school without the child’s family paying for over five months. Those members who voted were Rodric Bowman, Troy Gerten, Loren Harms, Chris Miller, Scott Nelson, and Sundjata Sekou. Kevin Cancino was absent from the meeting while Alex Balaban and Jeof Vita who were in attendance at the meeting that evening were not present at the return from closed session.

An investigative report by this newspaper revealed that no payments were made from September 2015 through January of this year to the Roselle Park School District (RPSD) even though there was a signed contract that required a tuition of $13,874 be paid in monthly installments. Checks were made and deposited only after an OPRA Request from Roselle Park News was submitted to the Board office requesting proof of payment. Further OPRA requests revealed an e-mail correspondence between principal Kenny and RPSD Business Administrator Susan Guercio in May of last year discussed the classification of that out-of-town relative as being tuition-free. Mrs. Guercio – who was present during the meeting earlier in the evening and had been part of the executive session – left about two-hours into the closed session.

Public records state that Mr. Peter Fallon is an attorney with an office in Warren. He is also a member of the Watchung Hills Regional High School Board Of Education. No other information – such as how and why Mr. Fallon was chosen – was available at this time.