NEWTON, NJ—The agenda for the May 12 Newton Board of Education includes a vote on staff renewals. The virtual meeting will also establish the staff members who will not be renewed, including the three positions on the chopping block due to budget shortfalls.

Superintendent of Newton, Kennedy Greene told TAPinto Newton the decision to non renew staff members is an ongoing discussion, before and after the April 28 meeting. The decis

“The Board passed the 2020-21 budget at its April 28 meeting to include the reduction of three teaching staff positions as well as two teacher assistant positions at Merriam,” Greene said. “The April 28 meeting ended with an executive session where the administration annually discusses recommendations on the rehiring of nontenured certified staff.  This year we also discussed recommendations as to how to address the three teaching staff position cuts.”

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Greene said the board of education members continued to ask for information on high school staffing, including options that had been considered by the school’s administrators prior to their final recommendation.

“So, we are talking about one position here,” Greene said.

Many in the community have been speculating about the staff members who will be cut. Parents and students have been making emotional posting on social media about the faculty.

Greene said the staff members will be “Riced” prior to the May 12 meeting so they may be discussed in Executive Session.  Staff members may waive their right to a closed session discussion forcing it to be held in public.

“To sum up, the final decision on which teaching position will be cut has not been made, as has been inaccurately posted on social media,” Greene said. “The decision is expected to be made at the end of the May 12 meeting after the Board has met in executive session to review the requested information on the personnel reduction options to reduce one more teaching position at Newton High School.”

There are currently petitions circulating social media to save the positions and teachers rumored to be considered for non-renewal:

  • Matthew Parzero- physical education teacher & football coach
  • Ashley Foster- Teacher of Music and Choir Director
  • Lisa Langschultz-teacher
  • Kathleen Leone- French teacher
  • Hal Mordkoff- teacher
  • Shannon McCarney-business teacher

Three football players and a parent who has also coached with Parzero, reached out to TAPinto Newton to give their thoughts on the matter, the subject of their emails; “Save Parzero.”

“To me Coach Parzero is not just a coach to his team. He is a leader. He is the person that pushes us to our limits. Brings us up when we are down. He has brought our program from nothing to something great. Without his help our team would be nothing,” football player and student Michael Melillo said.

Matthew May, student and football player gave an impassioned statement about Coach Matthew Parzero.  He said, “The first time I had ever met Coach Parzero it was at a youth football camp that Coach Parzero was having that I had gone to going into seventh grade. From the moment I had met Coach I could sense the love for the game and the joy he had brought to all of us. Reflecting on this past year of high school football and thinking of Coach the word that comes to mind is enthusiasm. I think of this word because Coach Parzero brought that every single practice. Every practice you would see Coach and how excited he was to be out there, to teach us all the game of football, all of the plays, to push us to be the best player and teammate we can be, and most importantly shape us into the young men that we are today. It was not just on the field where he would impact us it was in the classroom as well. Coach Parzero was loved and respected by all of the students around NHS because of the positive impact he would have on our lives. He could be seen with a smile all throughout the school. I had not had Coach Parzero as a teacher this year but many of my friends had, from what I have heard from them was he was an amazing teacher and once again brought enthusiasm and passion for his job. Coach Parzero isn't just a great coach and teacher, he is a great man and he deserves to stay at NHS for all he has done for the football team, the school, the students, and the whole town and community of Newton.”

Aaron Fantasia, a captain of Newton’s football team shared his thoughts as well.  

“Coach Parzero is not only a great coach and great football mind, but one of the most honorable men I have ever met in my life. He is a guy that never takes credit for what he’s instrumental in accomplishing. He’s a great teacher, role model, and the best football coach a player could ever ask for. This would be a tragic error by this district and an unforgivable one.”

Fantasia’s father, Chuck also submitted a statement, from a parent’s view, but also as someone who has coached with Parzero.

“Coach Parzero has completely changed the culture of Newton Football. As a long time coach in the Newton Youth Football program, I’ve had the honor of working with him the past 4 years. He has turned the entire program into a family. He’s a great coach. That goes without saying. But more importantly, I see the impact he has on the kids, and not just the high school players. The k thru 8 football players know who he is. He devotes countless hours having camps for the kids and he attends several youth football games every year. I have watched this coach gain the respect of his players. He has transformed the program into a state powerhouse. I think by the outpouring of support, it’s pretty clear that losing Coach Parzero would be a monumental mistake as well as a huge loss for the Newton community. This is a travesty in the making.”

The board is set to vote during an executive session, that will take place during the virtual meeting on Tuesday, May 12 beginning at 7 p.m.