While the employment statuses of the five educators charged in the Triton Regional High School sex case likely won't be decided for several months, if not longer, many in the community have questioned whether the three teachers and two administrators are drawing paychecks while they're suspended.
The short answer: Probably, but not for much longer.
A certificated school staff member can only be suspended without pay if they've been indicted on criminal charges or if tenure charges have been filed by his or her school board, according to New Jersey law.
The Black Horse Pike Regional School District (BHPRSD) Board of Education meets Thursday night for the first time since the charges against its Triton faculty members were filed and announced Oct. 4.
Three teachers—Jeffrey Logandro, 32, Nicholas Martinelli, 28 and Daniel Michielli, 27—are charged with having sexual relationships with now-former Triton students between November 2011 and June 2012.
Each was suspended at various points late in the summer and at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year as the Camden County Prosecutor's Office investigation advanced.
Triton principal Catherine DePaul and former vice principal Jernee Kollock are charged with official misconduct for allegedly attempting to cover up allegations of teacher-student sex that surfaced in April.
DePaul and Kollock, who began working as vice principal at BHPRSD sister school Timber Creek on July 1, were suspended Oct. 3.
School districts are not required by state law to withhold paychecks from suspended educators.
Educators can be suspended without pay for an indefinite period when indicted, but can only be suspended without pay for up to 120 days once tenure charges are filed. If a teacher has not been fired within 120 days of the initiation of termination proceedings by a school board, pay is restored.
But, short of an indictment or formal move by a school board to terminate employment, teachers and school administrators continue to draw paychecks while suspended, under state law.
Thursday's BHPRSD board meeting will be held at Timber Creek. The board is scheduled to meet for a workshop beginning at 6 p.m. The public session is slated to begin at 7 p.m.
For more on the Triton teacher-student sex charges, visit:
- School District Hires PR Firm in Wake of Triton Sex Scandal
- Prosecutor: 'Moral, Ethical and Legal Failures' in Triton Sex Case
- District, Superintendent Issue Statements on Triton Sex Scandal
- 'Shocked,' 'Astonished' Triton Students React to Sex Scandal
- [UPDATE] Triton Teachers Under Investigation