Anthony DeIntinis, 50, said he is running for a seat on the Parsippany Board of Education to shake up the status quo.
The retired Passaic police officer and former state-certified school resource officer has lived in Parsippany for more than 13 years. He serves the local community in a number of capacities: as an advisory board member for St. Ann's Parish, as a coach and executive board member of the Par-Troy Wrestling club and as a member of the Parsippany High School and Troy Hills Elementary School PTAs.
"The best thing about Parsippany and its schools is the diversity of the community," he told Patch. "We have a multi-ethnic population where everyone gets along. All our children are exposed to many different cultures and seem eager to learn from one another."
DeIntinis said he is concerned for the welfare of children and believes the school board culture needs to be changed.
Among the most pressing issues, he cited past board decisions involving the superintendent's controversial contract, the condition of the high school athletic fields, the lack of a contract for teachers, the perceived academic differences between the two high schools (Parsippany Hills High is ranked 23rd in the state while Parsippany High is 86th) and the "divided" Board of Education.
"[Superintendent of Schools LeRoy] Seitz’s contract and his refusal to comply with Gov. Christie’s [salary] cap... has caused the taxpayers costly litigation, divided this community and victimized the children," he said. "I would make it one of my first priorities to rectify this matter by reviewing his contract in detail, and ending this battle with Seitz."
Regarding the fields, DeIntinis said he wants to move forward in a timely fashion "to give our children the fields they deserve so injuries are minimized and our children have a stronger sense of pride when playing on them."
He said his experience as an administrator in his prior profession gives him the experience to move along contract negotiations with teachers.
"I know where monies can be found in budgets and utilized to give the taxpayers the biggest bang for their buck," he said. "Teachers are with our children on a daily basis between six to seven hours per day. We should take that into account."
DeIntinis wondered whether the school district is giving more attention to Parsippany Hills High School at the expense of Par High.
"Is it a manipulation of numbers on behalf of the administrators, improper allocation of resources (10 more teachers at PHHS than PHS, more teachers with [advanced degrees] at PHHS than PHS, more AP testing/classes at PHHS than PHS)?," he asked. "We need to look into these gaps and closely examine what is happening to bridge the gap between the schools. We must afford the same opportunities at both schools and make it a priority."
And then there is what he sees as school board acrimony.
"[Ticketmate James] Carifi and I are working together to unite this board by eliminating needless spending and working as a team," said DeIntinis. "For example, acting and communicating as adults without the use of mediators. Accountability in every part of our district from working within the 2 percent [tax levy] cap mandated by the state.
"In addition to the five pressing issues there is one additional item that I believe is an important issue," he said. "It is the safety of our children. In my past experiences, I believe it's better to be proactive than reactive. My partner and I would like to have in writing a safety plan for the entire district. With such a large district, I would like to make sure we are truly prepared and are keeping our number priority, the children, safe at all times."
DeIntinis suggested instituting his safety plan in conjunction with some sort of shared service arrangement with the town.
"The township and the Board of Education working together can lead to eliminating outside vendors," he said. "Let's move into having shared technology, janitorial supplies, tree removal, landscaping equipment/maintenance of fields, and snow removal. I welcome any suggestions that would benefit the children and eliminate outside vendors."
DeInitis said he grew up in an economically and socially challgenged inner city. He said he's seen what political misconduct can do to a town and witnessed injustices during my entire life.
"Those experiences have molded me into the person that I’ve become," he said.
“I am not easily swayed by popular/political opinions," DeIntinis said. "If elected, I represent everyone equally in the township, not a select few. I am not afraid to speak to the truth. Fair but firm is my motto.”