Bayonne BOE’s superintendent plan stalls, may move forward at special meeting next week


The Bayonne Board of Education’s plan to appoint Freeholder Kenny Kopacz (D-1) as the acting superintendent of schools for the summer to bridge the gap between the departure of Dr. Michael Wanko and the appointment of his yet-to-be named successor hit a snag last night.

Bayonne Freeholder Kenny Kopacz (D-1) is the frontrunner to be the Acting Superintendent of Schools over the summer, but it appears a permanent replacement must be agreed upon first.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Kopacz, the assistant superintendent of schools for curriculum and instruction, was expected to be considered as interim superintendent at last night’s meeting, based on a copy of the board’s agenda.

However, despite the fact that Wanko’s contract expires on June 30th, the administration ended up pulling that agenda item after deciding that they did not yet have a definitive answer on who would be taking the reins from Kopacz, the latter explained to HCV.

“Given that there was no contract being considered for a new superintendent, the administration pulled the resolution that would’ve also involved an acting superintendent appointment since that would only complete part of the process,” he said over the phone.

In addition to tabling a resolution to appoint Kopacz acting superintendent with no pay increase, the board also tabled a measure that would have okayed an agreement with a permanent replacement for Wanko.

The Bayonne BOE announced a national superintendent search back in April, but the process appears to have largely been bogged down since four trustees on the nine-member board cannot vote on the leader of their public schools district due to conflicts of interest.

Board Vice President Denis Wilbeck, along with Trustees Ava Finnerty, Jodi Casais and Charles Ryan cannot participate in the superintendent selection process since they have at least one immediate family member that works in the district.

As a result, the remaining five trustees, Board President Joseph Broderick, Christopher Munoz, Maria Valado, Michael Alonso and Carol Cruden would all have to agree on a candidate.

If last night was any indication, that seems extremely unlikely, with Alonso stating he did not feel comfortable moving forward with any initiative the board put forward regarding the superintendent plan.

Nevertheless, the board will have an opportunity to try again during a special meeting on Monday, June 10th.

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