Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Meet the BOE Candidates

Last night, the community had an opportunity to meet the Board of Education candidates for the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District. The planned debate was moderated by the League of Women Voters and provided local residents a format to question the candidates. Unfortunately, there was no debate. Only two candidates actually came - Charles Kenny, who’s running unopposed in Matawan, and Ken Aitken of Aberdeen. In a remarkable display of hubris and disdain for the citizenry, two candidates, Jan Rubino and Marty Ruprecht, both of Aberdeen, ignored the event. Yet, I still consider the event a success for we got to see who the candidates truly are.

Aside from Rubino, every member of the Board of Education was present except for John Barbato and Catherine Zavorskas. Their staged absences were broadcast in advance to the local newspapers so that not a single reporter covered the event. Rubino is now trying to cover her tracks by circulating a letter that she opposed the forum and, the last time they held this type of forum, the police had to be called to control the crowd. Lies and more lies. Rubino was the board member who seconded the motion to adopt the new forum to use the League of Women Voters and the police were never called.

Rubino and Ruprecht are firmly ensconced in the Barbato –Zavorskas camp. Just as this left-wing cabal has chosen to not defend themselves in public, neither will I grant them any benefit of the doubt.

This election has become a referendum on the new direction the board has taken. Will Dr. O’Malley’s demanding standards be supported or undermined? Will the school district be judged upon services provided or actual academic achievement? Will parents and students be lulled into believing they are getting a good education or will the district publicize the stark results of standardized testing?

We should not understate the damage Barbato and Zavorskas have done to this district or their insane grab for power at the expense of the people they’ve sworn to serve. The stories of them using the school district to provide patronage jobs are true. Providing teachers lifetime tenure after 3-years of service, probably the largest impediment to educational reform, was only enacted to protect teachers from the likes of Barbato and Zavorskas.

I can appreciate the tactics used for political gain, such as feeding stories and Letters to the Editor of local papers, or recruiting college students to submit absentee ballots, but Barbato and Zavorskas have crossed a line with their latest fundraising attempt.

Below is an un-edited email (in its original red) that was sent to several school district employees, including one non-tenured principal and a staff member whose obligations include working closely with the board.

Dear friends,
As we begin our campaign we find ourselves in need of many things. We are hoping you, our valued supporters, can help us once again.
The days of simply placing signs on lawns, shaking hands and hoping that it will be enough to win an election are gone. Yes, our signs are a great help but we have found, after many campaigns that flyers, signs, magnetic reminder cards and postcards (along with postage) are all essential when trying to get the word out.
We are at a critical crossroad in this district, needing to make some critical changes. With your continued help we can accomplish so much. As board members we will show support of our new Superintendent and help to ease his transition. We will move forward and do what's best for our children and not get caught up in the day-to-day micromanagement of the district. We will work to educate every child at every level so all of our children can reach their highest potential. We will show our community, and its organizations, that we respect and value their input and opinions and support their efforts on behalf of our children.
Simply stated, we need your support of time, effort and money to run an efficient, effective and successful campaign. Only with your support can we win the election and dedicate our efforts to making the Matawan Aberdeen School District an environment where all of our children will thrive.
We are currently soliciting monetary contributions to get this campaign moving in the right direction. We can no longer afford to do it alone and need your help to raise the money that will allow us to run this campaign the best way possible.
Thank you in advance for whatever you can give. We promise to work hard to win this election for all of you.
Jan Rubino and Marty Ruprecht

P.S. of course, any contribution will be greatly appreciated but…
A donation of $25.00 will pay for 6 signs. (we need 200)
A donation of $50.00 will pay for 200 postcard stamps (we need 3000)

Please make checks out to: J.R. and M.R. for Board of Education Election.
We have opened an account at Commerce, by law, for any and all donations and expenditures.

Jan Rubino
824 Arbordale Drive
Cliffwood Beach, NJ 07735
Marty Ruprecht
8 Ambler Court
Aberdeen, NJ 07747

The Board of Education is constantly reviewing personnel matters including decisions regarding tenure and disciplinary actions. Does anyone believe Rubino or Ruprecht would recuse themselves from any review involving a recipient of this email? Does anyone believe a school district employee receiving this email wouldn’t feel pressure to contribute or fear retaliation if they didn’t? Does anyone believe this email was issued without the foreknowledge and consent of Barbato and Zavorskas?

I have been very reluctant to enter the political fray within the school board and I’ve been a fierce critic of all the board members but these machinations must come to an end and it’s time to choose sides.

Ken Aitken has been a strong proponent of fiscal reform – that all new budget items be directly attributable to academics. He opposed the lease-purchasing scheme to bypass the voters and fund a $1.45 million dollar football field that continues to be a drain on the educational budget. He blockaded Quinn’s massive construction plans. Ken supports hiring a grants writer to obtain additional outside funding.

Ken is also the reason so much school information is now becoming publicly available, such as the public broadcasting of all board meetings and podcasting from the school website. He supports Dr. Gambino’s efforts to introduce more tools for measuring student performance in a timely fashion. And he believes that a program’s continued failure is a reason to cut, not increase, funding. You can learn more about Ken at his website,

I fully endorse Ken Aitken. As for Rubino and Ruprecht, I’ll be leaving that space blank. It’s time to send a message. >>> Read more!


KrisMrsBBradley said...

I'm appalled that they solicited funds from employees of the district.Even if it donations had been freely offered, they should have been turned down. Serious conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

Conflict of interests have been a constant with the past leadership of the Matawan-Aberdeen School Board. That was the order of the day when the Zavorskas and Barbato team were in control.



Aitken is deserved of all of our votes. I will only cast one vote for the two Aberdeen seats. Maybe then they will figure it out that those who are allegiant to the Z&B team do not deserve consideration.

Anonymous said...

I too was appalled the other two candidates from Aberdeen did not respect the public enough to show up and let us know what they have achieved, or what they plan on doing for our children.

I respect my one vote, and they should respect it also; if they are asking for it. I also will only cast one vote for the two Aberdeen seats.

Mr. Aitken is the only one from Aberdeen, who respected the public, showed up and gave me hope for our children. He deserves my (and your) vote!

And as for the other two candidates soliciting funds from district employees, I'm speechless! Appalled doesn't begin to describe my disappointment, distaste and distrust!

Anonymous said...

The true colors are out... Thank you Aberdeener for revealing the truth to us tax payers. It is just ASTONISHING that elected officials can request money from the people whose contract they vote on and it is not a Criminal Offense (or is it) GOD HELP US ALL....... What as this town become.

Anonymous said...

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action." -- George Washington

Talk about irresponsible action! George and many brave men and women showed up for tougher battles than an honest candidate's forum for our citizens. I would guess he'd be rolling in his grave if he knew about their soliciting funds that results in a clear conflict of interest. A double shame!

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener, you seem to be contradicting yourself. In MARSD Parties like its 1984 you called for reform candidates. I know our choices are limited but both Aiken and Rubino have not served us well. You have pointed that out many times. Huge Tax increases, lower test scores, a teachers contract the taxpayers will not be happy with, to only name a few. You list Aikens so called accomplishments straight from his website but after 3 years still the same old tax and spend approach. Usually agree with you, not this time.

Aberdeener said...

You're correct - I disagree with Aitken on several, if not most, items before the board. Aitken supports the budget, I oppose. Aitken supports RTI, I oppose. Aitken believes the district is making real progress, I see hesitant baby steps at most. Aitken believes the community will only accept gradual modest changes, I challenge that notion.

I'm also angry that, aside from selecting a new superintendent, we've not seen any big ideas, nothing, that will really improve academic performance or reduce the tax burden - the two primary objectives of the school board.

However, Aitken and I share a vision that children must be educated, that real standards must be implemented and upheld, that faculty and administration be held responsible for performance. And I contrast that vision with Barbato and Zavorskas who view the school district as their personal playground. And I see a battle that Barbato and Zavorskas could win. I cannot allow that to happen.

When there's a fight, we can either choose a side or submit to whomever wins. I've chosen to join Ken Aitken.

Anonymous said...

The shift in the balance of power on the BOE has had less than one year to reform what most would admit is a board that has a track record that speaks for itself. Messrs. Aitken, Gambino, O'Connell and Kenney need time to unwind the sins of the past. Give them a chance.

Anonymous said...

They have had the balance of power in the most important year, the contract year. They have been on the board a total of 12 years and could have made real change this year. As many point out control is dangerous if it is for the wrong reasons. This was a chance to prove for the next 3 years that faculty would have some kind of stake in dismal test scores (holding them responsible). The track record does speak for itself and this contract goes on their record.

Anonymous said...

I saw Jan Rubino & Marty Ruprecht’s flyer. – Jan states she has been on the board for 6 years and not a single accomplishment noted. Marty doesn’t have anything of substance written either. Neither of these candidates stands out to me. Marty has shown himself to be nothing more than a follower under Barbato-Zavorskas influences. Be a man Marty! Stand up for yourself. Stop allowing them to tell you what to do and when to do it. What’s the matter, Barbato-Zavorskas said you weren’t allowed to attend Candidates Night and speak for yourself. Go ahead attend your private tea. All the real men were at the debate last night. Where were you? You must have received the same orders as the rest of the bobble heads in this town - DO NOT ATTEND. If you are so afraid of answering questions in public, you shouldn’t run for the board. Oh but I forgot Barbato & Zavorskas will answer all questions for you. You should be ashamed of yourself.

I thought better of you. I guess I was wrong. Citizens of Aberdeen wake up!!!! Mr. Aitken you have my vote. You impressed me.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marty, How many sugars do you take in your tea; one or two?

Anonymous said...

Jan Rubino may be from Cliffwood Beach and Marty may be from Strathmore but neither of them will get anything done if the follow blindly the orders and arrogance of the Barbato and Zavorskas team. They will fail us and worse as well cost us taxpayers plenty. Their arrogance and divisivness never seemed to be a problem until they became the minority.

Justice well deserved I say.

Barbato and Zavorskas you are next. Pack your bags.

Maybe you can run for office for Aberdeen Council. After all you two have a lot of experience in raping the taxpayers with no accountability. All you have to do is do exactly what that scum Norman Kauff tells you to do, just like Vinci and all of the rest of them.

You would fit in well. Perhaps you two could get their just in time for the indictments.

Middlesex Jim

Anonymous said...

Consolidation! Everyone is talking about merging and consolidation and shared services. Why is the school districts never in these conversations. Cut down on administrators and secretaries. Big bucks to be saved there.

Anonymous said...

Tell everyone you know to vote on April 15th.

It is time that the school board elections coincide with the normal election dates.

The NJEA will be pissed however as they like it when only 7-15% of registered voters tuen out.


Anonymous said...

Just in case Mrs. Rubino has forgotten the Code of Ethics she recited the last time she was sworn in and for the benefit of anyone else out there who doesn't "get" the big deal concerning solicitation of campaign funds from district employees.Perhaps our NJSB County President Mrs.Zavoskas, might want to review this too:

N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24.1 Code of Ethics of School Board Members
"A School Board Member shall abide by the following Code of Ethics for School Board Members:

(e) I will recognize that authority rests with the Board of Education and will make no personal promises or take private action which may compromise the Board."

N.J.S.A. 18A:12-22, Findings,Declarations

"(a)In our form of representative government, it is essential that the conduct of members of local Boards of Education and local School Administrators hold the respect and confidence of the people. These Board Members and Administrators must avoid conduct which is in violation of their public trust or which creates a justifable impression among the public that such trust is being violated."

Mrs. Rubino, I'd say that if the shoe fits... maybe it is time to do the gracious thing(for the first time since this campaign began), 6 years is a good run, perhaps you should do yourself,your running mate(since he seems to be a follower)and the rest of us a favor...step down. Your reckless and distasteful behavior has been a true disappointment, speaking from one mother to you really think your actions won't have a negative effect on the children in this town? They hear and see much more that we adults would like to think. So, are you really about kids? I'd say your actions speak for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Jan and Marty are running on a platform of respect. Maybe they need to learn what that word means themselves. Before I go to the polls and cast a vote I wanted to hear what Marty plans where, since he never bothered to show up I guess we will never know.

Anonymous said...

By soliciting campaign contributions from teachers and parents, Jan and Marty have revealed themselves for what they really are- "lobbyists for the teachers" The children of this town deserve board members who looking out for the children, not looking to give teaching jobs to their friends.

Anonymous said...

Charles Kenney who is running unopposed took the time to attend the Meet the Candidate night and field and answer questions. Mr Ruprecht, who is running for the first time never bother to show up. How can you ask the taxpayers of this town to trust Mr Ruprecht when he will not even make himself available to answer questions and let the district know what he is all about. I looks quite obvious that a Vote for Reprucht is really a vote for Barbato and Zavorskas

Anonymous said...

Rubino and Ruprecht do not show and now want the voters to think it is a great right wing conspiracy. Have we not heard that tired old line before from another who feels her place is guaranteed.

Jan Rubino, having wasted the peoples time over the years while you accomplished nothing but division and turmoi, does not mean your election is guaranteed.

Don't plan your victory celebration just yet.

Just so you know.

Anonymous said...

"Aside from Rubino, every member of the Board of Education was present except for John Barbato and Catherine Zavorskas. Their staged absences were broadcast in advance to the local newspapers so that not a single reporter covered the event."

If this is true, then the arrogance show by these people must be stopped.

On election day vote for the one person who really does care for your child, vote for Ken Aitken

Mim Song said...

i really don't understand -- what do all the references to "left-wing" and "right wing" mean, in this school board election? i'm just curious....

Anonymous said...

"A donation of $25.00 will pay for 6 signs. (we need 200)
A donation of $50.00 will pay for 200 postcard stamps (we need 3000)"

200 signs cost 850.00
3000 stamps cost 750.00

These two candidates care so much for our children that they can't pay for this themselves.

Aberdeener said...


The primary difference between left wing and right wing comes down to this - do you judge a school district based upon what it provides or what it produces?

Those on the left feel you can't accurately measure a school's impact on a student so you focus on providing the very best.

Those on the right argue you can measure progress despite the testing mechanisms being imperfect. Therefore, it's not only appropriate but important to focus upon achieving and maintaining high scholastic standards.

For example, do we expect minorities and low-income students to reach the same academic standards as everyone else. The left believes that's unfair and the right believes it's necessary.

The secondary difference is in finances. Each side recognizes they have a fiduciary responsibility. The left understands that to mean "don't spend money needlessly". The right understands their obligation as "don't spend money unless necessary".

O'Connell, Aitken, and Kenney voted against the football field. Barbato, Zavorskas, and Rubino voted for it.

My argument with the right wing has always been that they act too much like the left. But I'm not willing to sacrifice the small progress we've made by ignoring the dangers of Barbato and Zavorskas regaining control.

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener, again good points but you leave out one important factor. With this divide Donohue becomes the power. I notice his name never comes up yet he couldn't make a decision if his life depended on it. Always runs unopposed, has been on board for years, has been president and was the one who brought Quinn. He shares in a lot in this blame game yet goes untouched. I for one don't want him deciding my childs future.

Aberdeener said...

I've not spared Donaghue any criticism nor have I forgotten that he voted for the football field. I'm simply choosing sides in the battle before us.

Anonymous said...

I cannot wait until the election. I hope that Ken Aitken and the positive change that has taken place the past year is allowed to continue.

The times of the Barbato and Zavorskas control deserves to be forgotten. Not soon enough for me.

You can be certain that the BIG BAD MEN ARE PICKING ON US POOR DEFENELESS WOMEN bullshit will be sent out through the supposedly impartial PTO's.

The PTO's are all controlled by Zavorskas and Barbato through their bought and paid for allegiance, along with the PTO belief that Zavorskas and Barbato care about all of the people in the PTO's. They do not! They do not care, they merely use and abuse the members sometimes illegally, I should point out.

If you get a phone call supporting Rubino and Ruprecht ask them how they got your number.

PTO phone list illegally used, probably! AGAIN !





Anonymous said...

The Big Marty and Jan Campaign signs are going up in town, similar to the onces used by the Democratic Party during their last election. Now we know why they had to illegally solicit funds from the teachers, as they needed more money for bigger signs. CORRUPTION at its FINEST.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading this site over the past few days, but never posted because I did not believe all the dirty campaign tricks which I have been reading about. However, I am now a believer in everything I am reading and it has honestly changed the way I will vote.

I am a teacher in another town (26 miles from Aberdeen) for the past 14 years and yesterday I received an unusual post card. A colleague who also lives in town also received the same card and concurred with my thoughts. It was stamped (not metered), addressed to only me and read;

Dear Fellow NJEA Members, Please support the budget in Aberdeen and vote for Jan and Marty who are running for the school board. At the bottom it said, paid for by Educators for a Quality Education.

At first look, I thought it was interesting that the NJEA would endorse a school board candidate since school board members approve teacher contracts and this is something the NJEA usually does not get involved with. After taking a closer look, through deductive reasoning, I came to realize the card was not from the NJEA; however everyone who received it was a public school teacher. It is obvious these cards were sent out by this Jan and Marty Camp. Someone in their camp obviously was able to get hold of a list with every teacher’s name and address who live in Aberdeen.

This campaign tactic has enlightened me and I am now a converted believer that Ken Aitken is the right person for the position. I will cast one vote and one vote only..........!

Cathy from Aberdeen

Anonymous said...

Dear Cathy from Aberdeen,
Thank you for posting your comment and enlighting the rest of us in Aberdeen to one more act of disturbing news by Jan and Marty.

You seem to be a teacher of high character. It is unbelievable how Jan and Marty and their camp are trying to MANIPULATE EVERYONE!


Anonymous said...

I just requested 2 lawn signs from Ken Aitken. Everyone urge you family, friends, and neighbors to get out to vote on April 15. We need to unite and take control of our school board.

Aberdeener.. GREAT JOB!

Anonymous said...

Remember to get out and vote today….
And, please consider the following when you select a candidate to represent the MARSD community.

1. Remember to vote for the candidate that serves this district’s goals and ambitions.
2. Remember to vote for the candidate that is approachable and available to speak with you.
3. Remember to vote for the candidate that keeps the school board’s business in an open forum, rather than going backwards to the old majority rule of manipulating the process with their closed door, by invitation only, meetings.
4. Remember that those “teas” held by the two red sign candidates were an elitist and self serving mechanism to propagate lies and rumors. These “teas” (by invitation only) served an unscrupulous purpose and this is where all the rubbish and rumor spreading tactics were sown, to be spread around our community. Truthful and honest candidates speak to the entire public, in an open and fair forum, and do not send self-serving, manipulative letters to the APP to explain away their flaws and weaknesses. And, candidates with integrity, and a positive message, don’t use the US mail as a means to spew malicious rhetoric (via postcards) as a means of campaigning for our children’s future.
5. Remember whose interests will be served by a candidate that solicits campaign funds from “friends” that are employees of our school system. Elected officials need to remember that they serve their community and not the interests of unions that have their own agenda and their own interests at stake.

Think about what it means to vote for those that wage a campaign on lies, deception and rumor mongering. Is this the leadership you want making decisions in the best interest of our children and community? Voting is one of our most revered rights as citizens and our votes should reflect our sense of values and integrity. Our elected officials are our voices and represent our concerns as parents that have a stake in the academic future of all the children in our community (now and for future generations). This community deserves a school system that meets and exceeds reasonable standards. Let’s keep this community going in the right direction.
Polls are open from 1:00 to 9:00 PM. Exercise your right as a stake holder in this community. VOTE!

Anonymous said...

This town is sad, how could Rubino have won this election? I guess people vote for their friends instead of the best candidate. This town is becoming more and more of a joke, maybe it is time to get myself and my kids out of here.

Brian in Aberdeen