The contract of Bayonne Superintendent of Schools Dr. Patricia McGeehan was not renewed at last night’s board of education meeting, with five trustees voting against the measure.
McGeehan was appointed superintendent of schools in 2000 and her soon to be 17-year run as head of the school district brought 11 residents pleading to renew her contact, including former Bayonne Board of Education (BBOE) President William Lawson and BBOE business administrator Leo Smith.
“The last place that I want to be is at a board of education meeting, believe me. But I’ll tell you something, for this lady, I’ll be here. She deserves to be the superintendent as long as she wants to. She has dedicated her life to the students, to the parents, to the staff here in Bayonne,” stated Lawson.
Lawson also went after Trustees Chris Munoz and Barry Kushnir, who both voted against the contract renewal, calling them a “disgrace to the town.”
“You guys have an agenda. Take it somewhere else. Don’t punish this lady. Don’t punish the students,” he exclaimed.
Trustees Mary Jane Desmond, Ava Finnerty, Theodore Garelick and Vice President Denis Wilbeck abstained on the vote.
Garelick argued that this would not be a good time to find a new superintendent with new programs and new residential buildings “stretching the walls” of the schools.
He also pointed out that elections are around the corner.
“In November there is going to be an election, there will be four members running for the board of education and the makeup will not be the same. Nevertheless, when those four members come on, the average amount of experience on this board of education will probably be less than a year.”
“To have a new superintendent with a board that is really new, I think is disaster.”
BBOE President Joseph Broderick explained that “this is not a firing.”
“Dr. McGeehan is the superintendent, she’ll be the superintendent until at least next year. I intend to give her my full support and cooperation and I expect everyone up her to do the same. I can tell you right now that no one up here thinks that Dr. McGeehan has done anything but a wonderful job so far.”
Trustees Carol Cruden, Mikel Lawandy and President Broderick also voted against her contract renewal.
McGeehan’s current contract expires on June 30, 2017 and her notice comes on the heels of a weeks-long feud with the city’s Police Athletic League (PAL), with the superintendent attempting to have the organization evicted – creating massive blow back from other officials and the public alike.
However, the board rescinded the PAL’s eviction notice at a special meeting earlier this month.