Carifi Defends BOE Vote on Departing Fifth-Grader
School board member was the only one who voted to remove a fifth-grader from his or her class, but said intent was not about 'kicking students out.'
Among the matters considered by the Parsippany Board of Education at its Thursday meeting was one that might have kept a fifth-grade child from sharing the end of the elementary school "moving up" experience with his or her classmates.
The superintendent's report of items to be decided included an item requesting that an unidentified fifth-grader whose family is leaving the school district be able to finish the year with his or her classmates.
The board voted to allow the request, however, one member voted no: recently sworn-in member James Carifi.
Carifi insisted that his vote was not about "kicking [a student] out" of school.
"I by no means feel that these such students should be 'kicked out' or not allowed to finish a year or even attend our schools if they are not a resident of Parsippany," he explained. "I simply believe that in the interest of fairness to the taxpaying citizens, these people who are no longer residents should pay to have their children stay in our school district at a minimum of a prorated rate, depending on where they are at in the school year."
Carifi said his work on the board is guided by the promises he made during his successful 2012 campaign.
"Those who know me, know that I am a man of my word," he said. "The vast majority of township residents that I spoke to during my campaign have expressed the hardships they are facing with the tax burdens of Parsippany. In this economy, residents are having difficulty paying Parsippany taxes in general, let alone paying for people who no longer reside in our town."
Carifi said that according to the documents he was provided, it was his understanding that the parents who made the request, which he said is not an unusual thing to ask, did not have children in transitional grades who will be graduating. He said he saw one request for a first-grade student and another for a 10th-grader.
"I in no means want to make this an issue," said the school board member, who began his term in January. "The issue was already brought up in the past and voted on and I accept the outcome.
"I respect each and every board member's opinion."