Education

Hillsborough School Officials Contend with Police Probe and Personnel Issue

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Dr. Jorden Schiff, Hillsborough superintendent of schools, last week asked for a police investigation of missing funds from an account at Hillsborough High School.
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HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – There are two high-profile developments impacting the high school community as 2017 draws to a close.

The Hillsborough Board of Education has its final meeting Monday night, Dec. 18, with a lengthy agenda that includes dozens of routine items, approving a Florida trip for the cheerleaders, accepting the resignation of a board member, appointments of long-term substitutes, line item transfers, renaming courses, paying bills, and soliciting comment from board members and the public on the 2018-19 school budget.

The agenda, however, does not mention Friday's disclosure of a police investigation into missing funds from an account at the high school and does not specifically mention  Athletics Director Michael J. Fanizzi being placed on administrative leave late last month, but there is an agenda item that seeks a board vote to appoint a “short-term” athletic director effective Dec. 20.

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Police Chief Darren Powell confirmed Friday that township police detectives, assisted by detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, have begun an investigation in to the theft of funds from an account at Hillsborough Township High School.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jorden Schiff requested the police investigation, according to Powell.

Powell would not disclose the amount of money that was missing, only that the theft occurred sometime between 2013 and this year.

He said the investigation was in its “infancy,” and that no arrests have been made.

Powell also declined to identify any suspect(s), or who police intended to interview about the missing funds, or from what account(s) the money was missing.

Schiff did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

On two separate occasions last week and the week before, Kia Bergman, a spokeswoman for Hillsborough Township Schools, responded with an identical answer to inquiries about the missing funds and the status of Fanizzi:


“The Hillsborough Board of Education will not comment on personnel matters,” she said.

Fanizzi has been Director of Athletics the past 14 years.

The Board of Education will meet at the Auten Road Intermediate School cafetorium, 281 Auten Road.

The board will vote on a recommendation from Schiff that Michael Davis, supervisor of Health and Physical Education at Hillsborough Middle School be appointed “short-term athletic director, district, effective December 20, 2017 not to exceed 24 days. Stipend $1,000 per month prorated for partial months."

The board does meet in executive session preceding the public portion of the meeting to discuss personnel and other sensitive matters; by law, the public is excluded from executive sessions. The executive session is scheduled for 6 p.m.

There is also a public portion at the meeting, at which time the audience can direct questions to the board. The public meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.

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