MONROE — After months of controversy and turmoil, the school district has a new permanent superintendent of schools.
The district also has a new acting business administrator and chief security officer.
By a vote of 6 to 2 with one abstention, the school board on Wednesday named acting superintendent Chari Chanley as permanent superintendent with a three-year contract. The negative votes were cast by Michele Arminio and Paul Rutsky, Jamesburg’s representative on the board for eight years, who is resigning his seat. Kate Rattner abstained from voting and Katie Fabiano was absent.
Chanley, who will celebrate his 20th birthday with the school district in August, will receive an annual salary of $200,000, plus $1,405 in longevity for the current school year, $204,000 plus $1,705 in longevity for the year 2023-24 school year and $208,080 plus $1,705 in longevity for the 2024-25 school year.
The board also approved the appointment of Assistant Business Administrator Laura Allen as Acting Business Administrator with an annual base salary of $142,173, plus $2,475 for a CPA license and $1,000 longevity. Corporate administrator Michael Gorski was placed on administrative leave in April. Because it’s a staffing issue, school officials haven’t disclosed why Gorski was suspended.
The district’s operating budget for the 2022-23 school year is $134.8 million with an estimated enrollment of 6,977 students in eight schools.
The council also appointed Edward Selby as district director of security with an annual salary of $75,821.26. Selby, who worked as a senior security officer in the East Brunswick School District for 10 years, replaces Peter Piro who resigned July 16. Selby is a former detective and patrol officer.
“He’s going to do a great job and be a fabulous asset,” Chanley said, adding that the school district needs to update and review its safety procedures.
“We can’t do the same old, the same old,” she said.
Earlier:Monroe Township school district turmoil boils over with lawsuit
Chanley becomes the district’s seventh superintendent in a dozen years.
She replaces Dori Alvich, the district’s first female superintendent, who announced her retirement last summer. Chanley was named acting superintendent when Alvich’s retirement became official on November 1.
Chanley had served as district college superintendent since 2008 before becoming acting superintendent. She holds a BA in English Literature from New York University, a Masters in Education from Monmouth University and is pursuing her PhD at Rowan University. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Educational Services Commission.
The council’s appointment of Chanley came two days after Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Michael Toto ruled that the lawsuit allegations regarding council members’ ethics violations during May votes extending Chanley’s contract as acting superintendent and extending Gorski’s suspension would have to be heard not in court, but by either the state school ethics commission or the commissioner of education.
There are already eight cases pending before the school ethics commission regarding alleged breaches of ethics by four school board members.
Chanley’s appointment came after months of unrest in the school district marked by social media posts targeting her and school board members with the alleged conflicts of interest.
Board chair Chrissy Skurbe said the social media posts targeting Chanley were “absolutely disgusting” and contained lies and misinformation. She said the posts constituted “harassment and intimidation”.
“Everything this council did was legal,” she said.
The school district hired the New Jersey School Boards Association to assist the board in selecting a new superintendent.
The vote to nominate Chanley was met with applause at the school board meeting.
Skurbe thanked Chanley for choosing to continue in the school district.
“With your expertise, experience and background, we know you will lead Monroe forward,” Skurbe said, adding that Chanley had shown “enthusiasm and positivity” during his eight months as acting superintendent.
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Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. For unlimited access to her articles on Somerset and Hunterdon counties, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.