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Westwood School Board to Appoint Acting Superintendent For Remainder of School Year

The Westwood Regional Board of Education is scheduled to vote on appointing Rory McCourt as the acting superintendent through the end of the school year.

Westwood Regional Schools may have a new superintendent through the end of the school year.

The school board is scheduled to vote Thursday on appointing current Director of Elementary Education and District Technology Rory McCourt as the acting superintendent through June 30.

McCourt was already credited as the acting superintendent in a letter to parents sent after the recent school shootings in Connecticut.

There is no mention of Superintendent Geoffrey Zoeller in the meeting's agenda.

The board is also scheduled to vote to suspend with pay an unnamed employee while an investigation is ongoing.

The board has been investigating Zoeller since he took home a district-owned truck and generator for Hurricane Sandy. They have held several closed session meetings to discuss Zoeller.

Many district residents have called for Zoeller to resign, including Westwood Education Association President Barry Albert. The WEA voted 222-19 in having "no confidence" in Zoeller last month.

"We can only hope that Zoeller does the honorable thing and steps down," Albert said.

Zoeller has apparently been out of the district for several weeks. Rumors circulated that he was forced to take a leave of absence, but Zoeller had told Patch he was "taking some vacation time."

Board President Carol Mountain and Zoeller were not immediately available to comment.

The board is scheduled to hold another closed meeting after their public meeting to discuss "personnel, litigious, and negotiation matters."

The Westwood Regional Board of Education meets at Westwood Jr./Sr. High School Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Correction at 5:58 p.m.: The board will vote to suspend an unnamed employee with pay, not without as was originally written.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Louise Miller December 23, 2012 at 10:05 PM
"Around the Block" - Just to clear up up a few questions for you: I can tell you for sure is "The Record" got a "tip" & drove all the way to Boonton to check it out. The writer from the Record actually told me that when he called me. First time a reporter has ever called me about a story, it was quite funny... but you know they can't disclose their sources. The Article is what did "Z" in and that's what started the whole chain of events in action. Very simple. Who called in "the tip" - I have no idea! But whoever it is I owe them a TREMENDOUS Thank You!!! I don't think it was an accident either, Zoeller FINALLY pissed off enough people and still thought he could get away with anything - his Ego did him in... AND about Cerco, his troubles are self inflicted, the Board had NO control over his "banishment". Someone else held him out to dry too! Hope this clears things up for you a little.
andromeda December 24, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Disgusted- I agree with you on all counts. I believe the proper destination for you is the local Office of Civil Rights. There may even be some good-hearted lawyers out there who would represent you for free. Hopefully, families have documented their experiences. You could include students who have graduated, the many teachers and special ed staff who quit or were forced out because they would not be a party to what was going on, current teachers with knowledge but afraid to come forward, and the long list of Special ed cronies used by Cerco who have been rumored to perform evaluations that agreed to his predetermined outcomes. People may not come forward, they have been blamed, screamed at, cursed at, ignored, lied to, manipulated, bullied, and vilified in the community. While simultaneously dealing with the sometimes overwhelming emotional and financial burden that can come with a child who has disabilities.
andromeda December 24, 2012 at 03:53 AM
It is rumored that the extraordinarily expensive crony lawyers (you know, the ones commended with Cerco by Ms. Roberta Hanlon at a board meeting for achieving such extraordinary results)may have been providing kickbacks, why else would accommodations costing taxpayers $0 have to go to court? How do you feel about that overburdened taxpayers? The IRS would certainly have an interest in it, it's considered untaxed revenue. Rumor also has it that $ received from an "outside source" earmarked for special needs programming now resides in our football stadium. Either way it would take an army of lawyers and accountants to sort it all out, and none of us can afford that. Look at what Zoeller & Co may have gotten away with, no wonder they are so arrogant. BTW, I do hope I am wrong about Rory McCourt, many seem to respect him.
Louise Miller December 24, 2012 at 05:51 AM
The new "stadium" came about with the excess money from the referendum. The public was told the excess came about from lower bids than planned on because of the economy & people needing work... That money could only be used towards Capital Improvements or returned to the taxpayers (the use of this $ was approved by the County). The State has to approve Referendums & Budgets - we are audited on a regular basis. There is State Law that prohibits Budgeted Line Item money from one area to be used towards a different Line Item fund (example: Capital Improvement Excess cannot be used towards an Educational Fund etc). That being said, now that we are no longer able to vote on the School Budget, if staying within a 2% cap (which does not include all operation expenses), HOW the Line Items are Budgeted can be questioned. Changing the voting date (the reason why we no longer vote on the school budget as stated above) was an option given to Schools in NJ by the Governor with stipulations in place. It was Mr. Blundo that remarked they should wait a year to see how it worked for other Districts & then decide on doing it, of course as usual he was ignored. The 2% cap is a bit misleading, it sounds good but check your tax bill - the percentage of increase will be greater than 2%. Keep in mind you can OPRA the cost of anything spent by the schools & they HAVE TO get it back to you in a reasonable time period. There are plenty of Accountants... in the area that are parents/taxpayers.
Westwoodian since '91 January 01, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Don't forget there is a BOE meeting Thursday night. They are electing officers at 7pm and the regular meeting at 7:30.

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