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Superintendent Anthony Cavanna Resigning at End of Year

Board of Education and Cavanna announce resignation in a joint statement.

On Monday, the West Orange Board of Education passed a resolution stating that they had accepted the resignation of Superintendent Dr. Anthony Cavanna. 

The BOE and Cavanna released a joint statement:

On October 22, 2012, the West Orange Board of Education voted to accept the resignation of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anthony P. Cavanna, effective December 31, 2012.

Dr. Cavanna was appointed as Superintendent of the West Orange School District on July 1, 2009.

During Dr. Cavanna's tenure, the District's accomplishments included the receipt of over $4,000,000.00 in Federal grants.  As a result, the District was able to maintain programming in the face of significant reductions in State aid.

Dr. Cavanna sincerely appreciates having had the opportunity to work with the staff, parents, an community members in West Orange, but he especially appreciates being given the opportunity to contribute to the education of the students the District serves.

Cavanna was suspended on July 18 for undisclosed reasons.  It had been reported that the board was unhappy with Cavanna's performance as far back as July 2011.  The board also voted not to renew his contract, which was set to expire in June 2013.

The board had unanimously appointed Cavanna to a four-year term as superintendent in 2009. Before coming to West Orange, Cavanna worked in schools in New Jersey and New York as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and deputy superintendent of schools.

In August, the board chose James O’Neill -- a former superintendent in both Roxbury and Chatham schools -- to serve as interim superintendent for West Orange schools until June 2013.

Ralph October 23, 2012 at 07:37 PM
What's amazing is that the rules are written is such a way that there is no way for the taxpayers to know what's really going on. Just simple things like why did the board feel they needed to remove him before his contract is up...Was it just one reason or multiple reasons?? It's not the boards fault, just a system that isn't transparent. The only bright spot is that the board voted unanimously to remove Cavanna.
Brett Kaiser October 23, 2012 at 08:04 PM
I wonder what this means? "2. The Board hereby ratifies the Separation Agreemtn between Dr. Anthony Cavanna and the Board, as approved by the Commissioner of Education on October 19, 2012, and authorizes the Board President or her designee to take all actions necessary to effectuate the terms of the Agreement." What are the terms of this "Agreement", and shouldn't the people in town, for the sake of transparency, be told what the terms are? http://thealternativepress.com/articles/west-orange-board-of-education-announces-resignat
Brett Kaiser October 23, 2012 at 10:36 PM
>> Ralph What's amazing is that the rules are written is such a way that there is no way for the taxpayers to know what's really going on Where does it say that? Change the freakin rules!! We spend A LOT of cash for the schools and for there to be no transparency...Bullsheet...I also feel the people in charge of THAT much money should be qualified to handle it, and be able to provide GAP Fiscal analysis...far cry from that I would say Yo...Chris...bring the hammer
john anthony prignano October 23, 2012 at 11:28 PM
This was written by Deb Harvest August 28, 2012; "The Board of Education, with the assistance of counsel and a few good friends, will offer a buy-out { more than 3 months } to our former superintendent and sweep it under the rug as a personnel issue.This way, the town will be lead to believe that Dr.Cavanna committed some mysterious illegal activity. Note to the community,if the former superintendent was a part of some sort of illegal activity,the DOE would have suspended him . At any rate, the community has a right to know the exact amount the BOE has offered for the settlement." This is what I say; Dr.Cavanna was hired before Chris Christie took office. So, does Dr.Cavanna get to cash in his unused sick ,personal and vacation days,which he continued to accumulate while he was suspended, based on his highest salary? Does Dr. Cavanna receive any compensation for not having his contract renewed? AGAIN, remember the only rule of politics - Give your friends money ! The rancor and acrimony and adversarial relationship that existed between the Board and Dr. Cavanna is the same type of rancor and acrimony and adversarial relationships that we often see in professional wrestling. We pay, and we pay, and we pay.....
Ralph October 24, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Brett, I'm just as frustrated by this process as you are. The taxpayers have no way of knowing if the real issue is Cavanna or the current Board - Well the current board needs to take some responsibility for hiring him in the first place. The process needs to be changed, but to my understanding this is no something a town can do; it lies at the state level. The joint statement from the BOE and Cavanna was just nauseating - He was unanimously fired by the board and this is all the info we are allowed to get. it's insane given how much of the budget goes to schools that we're left in the dark.
SMFlatow October 24, 2012 at 11:28 AM
And we still do not know the financial co$t to West Orange's taxpayers and the educational cost to West Orange's students.
Michelle Cadeau October 24, 2012 at 12:29 PM
It was reported that the district saves $15,000 with having Dr Cavanna go AND hiring Mr O'Neill. So no extra cost for us but a saving of $15K.
barry_geltzeiler October 24, 2012 at 01:32 PM
It is my understanding that afte all of the payments to Cavanna and O'Neil the town comes out 15K ahead. Ask any BOE member they can explain the details of the financial settlement. I did and this was the final savings, but i do not want to misquote or misrepresent the facts.
barry_geltzeiler October 24, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Yes IF Cavanna committed illegal activity the DOE and the legal system would have taken care of this. Did you ever stop and think perhaps Cavanna violated the terms of his contract and that is why he was dismissed. And we must ask ourselves since Casalino AND Mordechai were Cavanna's biggest supporters why would they vote for his ouster if there was not material reason? This has been a divided dysfunctional board butn they acted in unison on this one. Makes a statement since they are back to being divided again!!!
Ryan October 24, 2012 at 06:45 PM
I agree, Barry. Without being privy to the details, it's hard to know what to think, but the fact that the entire board -- which is almost never unanimous on anything of substance -- was unanimous on this speaks volumes.
john anthony prignano October 24, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Barry Where does it say Dr. Cavanna was dismissed? He was suspended with full pay,and now he has resigned. He had been suspended for over 3 months, but his resignation will not take effect until December 31, 2012. He receives no punishment.Further,there is not, and there will not be, so much as even an attempt to punish him. What he does receive is at least $125,000 in compensation for a five and a half month vacation. I think Deb Harvest's letter written on August 28 is dead on.
Adam Kraemer October 24, 2012 at 10:11 PM
We still don't know the full cost on legal matter related to this. I will be putting in an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requesting how much we spent in legal fee related to this.
Brett Kaiser October 25, 2012 at 08:58 AM
There is NO WAY the BOE didn't shell out some cash, to cover up ???? And HOW Did we come out ahead? http://thealternativepress.com/towns/west-orange/categories/news/articles/dr-anthony-cavanna-issues-statement-to-the-west Why else would the doc be silent? Again U ask..what is the charter of the BOE? And Barry...maybe some of the BOE Members were bent against their will, in the best interest of the town...we may never know
West Oranger October 31, 2012 at 03:25 PM
It doesn't have to be illegal to be unethical or otherwise wrong. We should know more - particularly about the money issues -- but I also think that the BOE needs to be free to act.
ANNE M CALLOWAY November 04, 2012 at 05:04 PM
To laugh often and love much To win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children. To earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty..to find the best in others ..to give of one's self..to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child or a garden patch or a redeemed social condition ..To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. THIS IS TO HAVE SUCCEEDED..GOD SPEED MR G.

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