SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta Board of Education Personnel and Policy committee discussed amending the Nepotism policy at their April committee meeting.  The policy was not on the April agenda. 

April Personnel and Policy committee minutes reflect proposed language for the Nepotism policy to be amended.  The suggestions include:

  • "In the event a sitting board member must resign due to the full time hire of a relative, that same board member may not be reappointed at any time after their relative has been hired.
  • "District job applications will have a section for applicant to alert the district that the applicant is related to a sitting board member.
  • "The policy will be further amended to state that all meeting agendas will indicate when a hiring recommendation is a relative of a current board member.”

The committee recommended these concepts be forward to the district’s counsel for advice.

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The controversy leading to this discussion stemmed from former board member Karen Scott and her son Matthew Scott. Initially her son was appointed as a substitute custodian in the window of time, February through June 2018 when she was not a board member.  While Scott and Superintendent Michael Rossi were advised this was initially legal, questions arose regarding the propriety of Scott’s integral role in the superintendent’s contract approval. 

The issue caught the attention of the New Jersey Department of Education when Matthew Scott was approved for a full-time position, having previously been hired as substitute. 

The Sparta School District received notification from the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance or OFAC of having a violation of administrative code.  At the March regular board of education meeting the OFAC letter was brought up by board member Kate Matteson under new business.

She inquired about the district’s requirement to announce the violation publicly and to have a remediation plan in place. 

The board did not discuss the proposed amendments to policy 0142 at the April meeting so it is unclear if this is part of the district’s remediation for the OFAC violation.

Matthew Scott’s name did appear once again on the April Personnel and Policy Committee agenda as a proposed hire for the position of night custodian at the high school.  According to the proposed resolution, Scott would be hired initially from “April 30 through June 30 at a rate of $17.31 per hour, $36,004.08 prorated.”

The committee minutes reflect support for academic appointments noted in the same resolution but “agreed to revisit custodial appointments at the next meeting to determine the need for full time appointments.  The committee agreed that due to schools being closed and full time maintenance staff working on a staggered basis already, there isn’t a need to start full time custodial staff at this time.”

Neither the May regular meeting agenda nor the May committee minutes have been posted yet.  According to Sparta.org the meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26.