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Berkeley Board of Ed No Place for Politics, Reuter Says

School board candidate has no qualms about Joseph H. Vicari's return as schools superintendent

School board candidate Gerard Reuter says the Berkeley Board of Education has become politicized in recent years. He and his running mate Louis Tuminaro want to put the board's focus back on the students.

“Me and Lou feel very strongly that people can have their politics, but that politics has no business on the school board,” Reuter said. “People on the school board need to be unified in working for parents and children and not for a political party.”

Reuter, 34, lives on Scott Drive in Bayville. He has lived in town for seven years. He has a daughter who is currently enrolled in the school district.

Reuter says he supports the consolidation of resources to save tax dollars, provided those efforts do not hurt the district's students. With that in mind, he said he is “completely 100 percent against” teacher layoffs.

“I do not want to see teachers lose their jobs and then see a $600,000 salt shed built," he said, referring to a line item he said is in the current budget. "That is unacceptable."

And it's  time to put the controversy over the return of schools Superintendent Joseph H. Vicari to rest, Reuter said.

Vicari returned after a two-year absence on April 1. He had served as superintendent for six years when a previous board declined to renew his contract. Vicari and his  supporters have said the action two years ago was politically motivated by local and county Democrats. Vicari, a Republican, is a longtime member of the Ocean County Board of Freeholders.

“This has been one of the ongoing political arguments that I say let’s move forward from,” Reuter said. “He [Vicari] obviously knows what he is doing or he would not be in the position he is in. No one has ever said anything bad about [his job performance] so I support him as superintendent.”

Reuter added that he believed Vicari’s experience in both education and county government makes him “the right guy” to lead the district if the goal is to move forward with consolidation.

Another recent hot button issue has been the funding of the annual trip for sixth grade students to Stokes State Forest in Sussex County for a three-day environmental retreat. The $80,000 trip was funded in the 2010-2011 budget, but not in the 2011-2012 budget.

Reuter said he is glad to see the creation of a foundation to help fund the trip.

“Every parent in town is very passionate about the trip," Reuter said. "They have all said there is nothing like it. I will support the foundation so it does not go away. I'm willing to work to keep Stokes viable for the long haul.”

Reuter has a bachelor's degree in Communication from William Paterson University. He is currently employed as a driver for UPS.

“People feel the board has become very political and no one’s voices are being heard except the political parties,” Reuter said.  “If Lou and I get in, it's like the parents and taxpayers get a voice on the school board.”

Bobby D April 23, 2011 at 02:47 AM
Mr.Reuter...your biggest mistake is your alliance with Benedict Tuminaro....you should have either run on your own or went with Mr. LaRocca...Lou will be your down fall. I firmly believe that the Republican ticket certainly has an agenda....I probably will vote for you and Mr. LaRocca and that is it....or just Mr. LaRocca. You will quickly realize that you put your eggs in the wrong basket...and this bunny ain't happy!
Ryan April 23, 2011 at 04:33 AM
As for Mr. Tuminaro. He is definitely in it for the politics. All you have to do is just look at his record of running for board. He became a member of the Berkeley Township Board of Education in 2007. He was given the position. Mr. Tuminaro never ran for school board until 2010. Where he lost by a landslide. I would say that is politics. Then he ran for Berkeley Township council in November 2009. Again, he lost by a landslide. Now he has switched Parties in the middle of a School Board Elections that he is running in. Mr. Tuminaro is not for a NONPARTISAN board. Wonder why? Mr. Tuminaro has found away to cut deals with politicians ( MR. VICARI) and the GRAVY TRAIN of Berkeley Township. Who don’t care about our Children or there Education. Mr. Tuminaro is out for the money in his pocket. Such as a great protected job.
Frank Rizzo April 23, 2011 at 04:50 AM
Mr. Reuter, I totally respect your educational backround and I feel that all school boards should have elected officals on that board with a college degree of some sort. It shows that a person with a college degree understands the challenges of studies and can communicate clearly as to what it takes to succeed in studies as a student. However, to associate yourself with Lou Tuminaro is like John McCain selecting Sara Palin as a running mate....it's a disaster. Lou has no more than a high school education and when challenged to futher his studies, he chose the easy road because he had no interest school, education, or the challenge. Instead, he became a janitor for the GSP cleaning toilets. The bootom line is, I'm very uncomfortable having a janitor with a HS education making major decisions on our childrens educational future. He has no experinence as to what it takes to be a hard working student, putting the nose to the grind when it counts, studying all hours of the night, and working a part time job on 4 hours of sleep. How does he know what's best for students when he couldn't wait to get out of HS himself and be done with school. If he had true interest in education, wouldn't he try to educate himself first? Why wouldn't he go back to school and find a career that doesn't include toilets? In closing, Mr. Rueter, your running mate is dead weight.
Barbara April 25, 2011 at 10:41 PM
As parents, no matter what our level of education, we strive to help our children achieve and reach goals that we ourselves may or may not have reached. It is human nature to want better for our children. Mr. Rizzo, how can you judge someone or assess whether or not they have the qualifications based on the job they hold or the level of education they have attained? We all have the best interests of our children in mind, whether a doctor or janitor. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know what the right thing to do for your child is. Mr. Reuter and Mr. Tuminaro are parents with the interests of their children as well as ours at heart.
Jose Deer April 28, 2011 at 03:25 AM
congrats on beating the write in


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