ELIZABETH — A lawyer representing Board President Marie Lynn Munn has denied rumors that she will resign Thursday from the the Elizabeth Board of Education seat she has held since 2007.
Sean M. Pena, an attorney with the Fusco & Macaluso Law Firm in Passaic, said Munn is not resigning and promised a written statement would soon be distributed to the media. NJToday will publish the statement once it has been received.
The Star-Ledger recently reported that at least one of Munn’s two children is enrolled in a federally-funded free lunch program despite having a family income that far exceeds the eligibility limit.
Munn is employed as a human resources administrator for the nonprofit New Jersey Sharing Network. Her husband is employed by the New York Times and he is owner of a semi-pro football team operating out of New York City.
Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch meals through the National School Lunch Program.
Administered by the state Department of Agriculture, the program provides nutrition to school children whose families meet income-eligibility requirements.
Reduced-price meals, for which students can be charged no more than 40 cents, are available to children whose families have income between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level.
Each day, about 17,740 Elizabeth students — or 80 percent of the city’s public school enrollment — participate in the lunch program, which last year provided $7.6 million to the district.
The Elizabeth schools have more than 23,000 students and a $402 million budget largely subsidized by the state, along with $20 million in federal aid.
Two high-level school employees are also implicated in the free lunch scandal.
Marlene Abitanto — who makes $73,350 as supervisor of custodians for the Elizabeth school district — and Carlos Lucio — a school principal with an annual salary of $103,163 — have been suspended pending the outcome of investigations.
Nationally, there have been 10 investigations into the National School Lunch Program over the past five years that resulted in one indictment, three convictions and the recovery of $25.6 million — mostly from civil judgments — say officials with the Inspector General’s Office of the Agriculture Department.
Munn, a graduate of Baruch College in New York City, has been well-known for her active engagement as a member of the Elizabeth High School PTA and as a team mom for the Elmora Youth League.
Munn served as a member of the Finance and Accounting, Educational Management, Community Relations and School Partnerships and Negotiations committees.
In addition, she serves as the Elizabeth representative to the Urban School Boards Association and chairs the Curriculum of Inclusion Committee.
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