HILLSBOROUGH, NJ —An audit into the Hillsborough Township School District’s finances found “multiple instances of concern,” said Board of Education President Paul Marini at the April 26 meeting.
“As you can note from the report there were a number of actions taken over the course of the previous year that were either in conflict with the fine practices, especially as it relates to overtime and bid thresholds,” said Marini.
Another item of concern included the issuance and timing of disbursements or money that was never released.
“All of these were also noted in our forensic report which can not be discussed further at this time,” said Marini.
As the investigation into the school finances continues, the Board of Education’s special counsel will offer a formal recommendation on how to proceed with any action on this matter and any other matters as presented, said Marini.
As a result, Marini said he will be appointing an Ad Hoc Committee “to address these issues and to make recommendations to the governance committee for policy adoption.”
The committee will address any of the items Marini mentioned and any other items that have not yet been disclosed from the forensic report.
This audit follows an ongoing criminal investigation into the school district’s finances by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and the Hillsborough Police.
The investigation kicked off a slew of changes in the school district administration and school board.
On Dec. 20, School Business Administrator Aiman Mahmoud abruptly resigned. Mahmoud had served as School Business Administrator/Board Secretary at the Central Office in Hillsborough since Jan. 21, 2008.
At the same special meeting, the school board also voted to place a Central Office administrative staff member on leave.
On Dec. 22, School Superintendent Dr. Lisa Antunes stepped down for “a short leave of absence, effective immediately.” In her place, Assistant schools superintendent Dr. Kim Feltre is now acting superintendent until Antunes returns.
Four months later, Antunes announced her resignation as superintendent “for personal reasons and to pursue other professional opportunities,” said Marini at the April 25 meeting. Read More: Hillsborough Superintendent Resigns, School Finances Probe Continues
On Jan. 3, assistant business administrator Luisa Rodriguez resigns effective Jan. 14. Additionally, the board also voted for change within itself. The board elected Marini president and John Oliver vice-president.
On Jan. 10, the school voted to approve hiring Paul Roth as the new interim business administrator effective Tuesday, Jan. 11. Additionally, the board also voted to sign a contract with Summit Management Solutions Inc. at a rate of $150 per hour.
Marini clarified that Summit Management Solutions would be providing an assistant business administrator along with someone to help the board work on referendum issues.
On Jan. 24, Gerald Eckert was unanimously appointed as the new Business Administrator/Board Secretary by the Board of Education.
Eckert previously served as Assistant Business Administrator in Hillsborough from 2008 through 2014 before serving with the Randolph Public Schools as Business Administrator/Board Secretary.
At the same Jan. 24 meeting, the board also took action to fill other temporary administrative vacancies. Dr. Tammy Jenkins, Principal of Sunnymead School was appointed Acting Director for Curriculum and Instruction.
Jenkins has served as Principal since 2004 and in 2017 was named National Distinguished Principal of the Year by the National Association of School Principals and Visionary Principal of the Year by the New Jersey Principal and Supervisors Association.