KEARNY – Kearny Board of Education’s efforts to land a new schools administrator have failed – at least for now.
The board, which has been searching for a permanent superintendent since the retirement of veteran educator Frank Digesere in June, had focused on the candidacy
of Frank Romano, currently superintendent of Franklin Lakes public schools in Bergen County.
To that end, in recent weeks the board had met several times in closed session to discuss possible terms of employment with the candidate.
But in a phone interview on Monday, Board President George King told The Observer
that: “I think we’re going to re-advertise (for the superintendent’s job). We weren’t able to take anything public to vote on.”
Asked if that meant that the board and Romano were unable to nail down an agreement on a potential employment contract, King said: “It looks that way. We’re back to square one.”
Efforts to reach Romano at press time on Monday were unsuccessful. An aide in the
Franklin Lakes public schools’ superintendent’s office said that Romano was “out of
King said that he was hopeful that the board could authorize extending the search
for a permanent superintendent sometime this week.
In the meantime, Ronald Bolandi continues as interim superintendent. Bolandi was hired in that capacity on June 20.
Romano is no stranger to Hudson County.
While working as an assistant superintendent for the Fort Lee public schools, he applied for the then-vacant post of schools’ superintendent with the Hoboken Board
of Education in 2010.
In February 2010, by a 7-2 vote, the Hoboken school trustees gave Romano a 3-year
contract at an annual salary of $190,000 with guarantees of 3.5% annual pay raises for
his second and third years on the job.
But, a short time later, Romano decided to withdraw, and, by the end of the school
year opted to accept an offer from the Franklin Lakes school district for a 4-year contract as top schools administrator at $189,000 a year.
Although the Franklin Lakes district is only K-to-8 with an enrollment of about
1,500 (as reported for the 2008-2009 school year) with no high school, as contrasted
with Kearny’s school population of more than 2,300 including a high school, King
said the Kearny trustees took into consideration Romano’s previous administrative experience with Fort Lee, with its approximately 3,500 students, including a high school.