Local Beat: BOE Calls for Investigation of Roselle Park Tuition Scandal

ROSELLE PARK BOE CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF TUITION SCANDAL
The Roselle Park Board of Education has appointed an independent investigator to look into allegations that the principal of Robert Gordon Elementary School allowed an out-of-district relative to attend the school tuition-free for more than five months. Saul Qersdyn of Roselle Park News says no payments were made from September 2015 to January of this year, despite contract requirements.

GENDER-CREATIVE CHILDREN IN SOMA INSPIRE AWARENESS AT SCHOOL, IN COMMUNITY
Alli Joseph Leonard of The Village Green brings us the story of Caleb Salmon, 7, one of a growing number of “gender-creative” children in South Orange and Maplewood. There has been a conscious effort in the SOMA community and by the school district to foster a culture of acceptance and openness.

FIRST READING OF THE PVRHSD’S TRANSGENDER POLICY
Meanwhile, the Pascack Valley Regional High School District this week held the first reading of Policy 5756, which addresses the rights and inclusion of transgender students in the Pascack Valley community. Olivia Bulzomi of The Trailblazer says several community members and groups voiced their opinions about the new policy.

EYES OF MLB ON BARNEGAT AND JASON GROOME
Jason Groome returned to Barnegat High School for his senior season this year, making Ocean County an attractive stop for Major League Baseball scouts and executives. Rich Chrampanis of Shore Sports Zone spoke with Groome, a potential number one pick in this June’s Amateur Draft, to discuss highlights from his first outing of 2016.

SPARTA COUNCIL HIRES SPECIAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE RESIDENCY
Township officials in Sparta have hired an attorney to investigate the residency of Sparta Councilman Jerard Murphy. Jennifer Dericks of TAP into Sparta says the question of Murphy’s residence was raised by former Sparta Mayor Michael Spekhardt after he noticed that Murphy’s residence appeared on a list of vacant or abandoned properties.

THE CASE FOR BETTER CONNECTIVITY TO UNIVERSITY CITY THROUGH NJ TRANSIT’S ATLANTIC CITY LINE
Joseph Russell of South Jerseyist makes the case for expanding the connection between Atlantic City and the white-hot job market being built in University City, Philadelphia.

WARETOWN COPS ALLEGE NEPOTISM AND POLITICAL RETALIATION
Veteran officers of the Waretown Police Department have filed a lawsuit in Ocean County Superior Court alleging they faced political retaliation from department superiors after they refused to endorse multiple nepotism hires. Gavin Rozzi of Ocean County Politics says the five officers also accused the department of violating its own policies and collective bargaining agreements.

WILL PINE LAKE PARK BE SWIMMABLE?
Manchester Township continues to work toward making Pine Lake swimmable again. Jennifer Peacock of The Manchester Times says the lake has been plagued by contaminants and runoff, and hasn’t been used for swimming in more than 11 years.

WE’RE LAUNCHING ANOTHER COLLABORATIVE REPORTING PROJECT: We just wrapped up a successful Beacon crowdfunding campaign with NJ Spotlight to support comprehensive immigration coverage in New Jersey. We’re partnering with community and ethnic media from all over NJ to tell important stories about how immigration policies and communities affect our state and our lives at every level. We’re calling the project, “In the Shadow of Liberty,” and we’ll be using everything we learned from Dirty Little Secrets to make this project even better. Send us an email at info@njnewscommons.org if you’d like to get involved!

WE’RE CREATING A FAQ: Do you have a question about the local news business? Is there some skill or piece of information that you’ve always wanted to know, but can’t seem to find the answer on Google? Use our new Hearken module to ask us your questions and we’ll do our best to answer it. We might even turn your question into a video tutorial. 

SAVE THE DATE: The Citizens Campaign will be hosting a day of civic empowerment training at The Civic Summit, on Saturday, May 7, at Rider University. Anyone interested in learning about citizen journalism is encouraged to attend. A panel on newsgathering and a hands-on session covering data journalism and visual media  for aspiring citizen journalists is scheduled. If you’re interested in attending, email Steven Galante at steven@thecitizenscampaign.org or call at (732) 548-9798 ext. 101.

SAVE THE DATE: What’s being done to clean up contamination across New Jersey? And how are residents being affected? Join us on April 20 for a discussion about the lingering impacts of New Jersey’s toxic legacy, inspired by reporting from Dirty Little Secrets, our collaborative series from news organizations across New Jersey. Click here for more info.

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