Two school districts, one superintendent.
Central Regional Superintendent Triantafillos "Tom" Parlapanides wants to apply for the soon-to-be vacant position in the Berkeley Township school district.
Having a shared superintendent would benefit students, staff and taxpayers, he said.
"My board has authorized me to apply," Parlapanides said Friday. "It benefits the kids in terms of curriculum, it benefits the taxpayers, we can buy supplies in bulk. It's a win-win."
Parlapanides said the board authorized him to apply if the position ever opened up. He said he is not interested in any salary increase by assuming the Berkeley superintendent duties. He is in the second year of a five-year contract with the Central Regional school district.
"I'm frozen at $151,000," he said. "That's what I want to make for the next four years."
Current Berkeley schools Superintendent Joseph H. Vicari said at the Board of Education meeting last night that he spoke to Parlapanides Thursday afternoon and Parlapanides said he was not interested in the Berkeley position.
Parlapanides said today he never told Vicari that.
"My board has authorized me to apply," he said.
Berkeley Board of Education President Steven M. Pellecchia said Friday he was upset over Parlapanides' statement that he never told Vicari he was not interested in the position.
"I'm shocked he would stoop to the level of calling my superintendent a liar," Pellechia said. "Mr. Vicari has an impeccable reputation for honesty. There's no reason for Mr. Parlapanides to say Joe would lie about what he said. I tend to believe Mr. Vicari."
Parlapanides did not accuse Vicari of lying. He denied he told Vicari he was not interested in the position.
Pellecchia also called the Central Regional school district a "failing school" in terms of test scores compared to the Berkeley school district.
"That's not what the board wants," Pellechia said. "Our board wants a superintendent that will maintain the reputation we have. In my heart, I really feel he's not qualified, even with a doctorate."
Parlapanides received his doctorate in executive education from Seton Hall University. He also has a masters degree in administration from Georgian Court University and a bachelors degree in history from Villanova University.
Pellecchia went on to say that Parlapanides could apply for the position and the board would consider his application.
Berkeley board members voted unanimously last night to hire Richard Morasco of Leadership Advantage to conduct a superintendent search. Morasco said the average time to find a new superintendent is six months. The amount of the contract was not announced at the meeting.
Vicari is leaving the district at the end of the school year.
Vicari - who is also a longtime Republican Ocean County freeholder - previously served as Berkeley schools superintendent for six years, until 2008 when a previous board refused to renew his contract. He has always contended the move was engineered by the Democratic majority on the board and was illegal.
Vicari returned to the district on April 1, 2011, at the state law minimum salary of $18,500. Vicari had offered to work for free but state law requires administrators be paid a minimum salary.
At the time, he said he would stay only one year, while the board looked for a permanent superintendent. He told the board in March to start looking for a new superintendent.