Sera & Simpson Accused of Brigantine School Funding Scam, Plan to Shutter Popular Sea-Tots?

Sera, Guenther, Simpson Brigantine School Scam
Sera, Guenther, Simpson

BrigantineNOW learned of another, sad story of Brigantine Green Head Politics in action. The following post comes from comments posted here on Sept 4, 2018.

Here are some excerpts, lightly edited for clarity:

Hello, my name is William Kuchinsky. My wife Joanne and I own Sea Tot’s Early learning Center. Sea Tot’s has been in business since 1991. In July, the interim superintendent for Brigantine Schools, came to Joanne to discuss her plans to offer full-day preschool for three and four year olds.

Superintendent Capelluti informed Joanne that she was applying for a state grant to pay for the program, but really didn’t care if she had a preschool. Capelluti offered to send the three year old students to Sea Tots. However, we would have to limit enrollment to fifteen children. There were no guarantees on the number Capelluti would send.

Sea Tots would be required to hire certified teachers, and offer bloated salaries and full benefits, comparable to Brigantine North School.

The hours of operation would also have to be the same as North School. That would leave working parents of Brigantine without any daycare before or after school hours, school holidays, snow days, teacher conventions, and summer time.

Bad deal for parents and every Brigantine taxpayer

Sea Tots operates from 7:30 to 5:30 Mon-Fri, all year long. We’re the only service in Brigantine for working parents. The NJ State Grant that Capelluti applied for, is only good for one year. She (Capelluti) used our business name, without our permission, on the application… implying she was partnering with Sea Tots. ( SEE APPLICATION BELOW )

This NJ State Grant requires a pre-school enrollment of almost 60 children. We’ve been told she intends to bus preschoolers from the Atlantic City Headstart program. They have a big waiting list for their own schools.

The reason I want to inform Brigantine taxpayers about this….is…… as we all know, Brigantine North School is already a top heavy, bloated salary, money hole.

Brigantine already has a school enrollment, (financed) by the huge base of taxpayers (2nd homeowners) who don’t use North School.

Educational ratings for Brigantine North School are poor. Teacher ratings are worse.

When state funding for this program dries up, guess who’s going to pay? The Brigantine taxpayers. Editors note: Many are on a fixed income. Many are 2nd homeowners that can’t vote in Brigantine.

Editor’s Note: Simpson and Sera’s Brigantine School Scam

The Brigantine School Board is ‘all in’ for this program. Voting on everything…with no public awareness.

There will be an informational meeting on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 6pm in the Elementary cafetorium. Parents are very upset about losing the daycare service Sea Tots offer.

We attended a second meeting with Capelluti at North School. We left thinking, ‘what a scam’.

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Brigantine Board of Education Members (editors note: hand selected by Mayor Guenther)

  • Frank Koch, President
  • Helen Coffman, Vice President
  • Nancy Barbin
  • Steve Bonanni
  • David Borrone
  • Matt Doran ( editors note: wow )
  • Dan Daley
  • Dr. Michelle Cappelluti, Interim Superintendent of Schools
  • Jonathan Houdart, Board Secretary/Business Administrator
  • Eric Goldstein, Board Solicitor

Other Social Media Comments:

The new preschool grant scam? Did you know the Brigantine Board of Education approved free day care for 3 & 4 year olds from 9-3 pm?

City Council endorsed it too. 99% of City taxpayers had no idea this was going on.

Details about the grant can be found on the PEEA site. Local businesses were supposed to benefit from this. Sea Tots is one such business.

Multiple sources have reported that Brigantine Councilman Vince Sera, Councilman Andy Simpson and the school board (selected by Mayor Guenther) are allegedly squeezing Sea Tots into submission. Take their bad deal, and likely get put out of business. This is nothing new in Brigantine. That’s why there’s so few retail stores and attractions in Brigantine.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Brigantine Council has blocked recording and posting of Council meetings on YouTube.

Brigantine School Board meetings are never posted to YouTube. Meetings are always non-welcoming to outsiders.

Sea Tots is the only full day, full year round preschool left on the island. Sera & Simpson was to take that business in-house. Bring it into the school district. Hire locals. Buy votes. Make 2nd homeowners and those on a fixed income, pay the bills.

The Brigantine school district has already put two other brig businesses….out of business when it implemented a free, half day, 4 year old program. Sea Tots worked with the school district being a full day provider and allowing children to be picked up and dropped off 5 days a week.

Simpson and Sera see this as a way to buy votes? Looks that way.

This scandal certainly is not benefiting local business or taxpayers. Unless of course, your connected to the team behind Greenhead Politics.

It’s been reported to BrigantineNOW, that the INTERIM superintendent reached out & spoke to the Sea Tots owner. They offered $14,000 a student, but did NOT guarantee they would get 15 students.

Sea Tots is licensed by the state to have 28 children, ages 3-4 potty trained only.

The Brigantine School superintendent said she could only have (15 ) 3 year olds as per the grant, and she could ALMOST guarantee 15, AFTER they fill their slots in the elementary school.

To adhere to the gov grant, they must hire a union teacher that gets sick time, holidays and full benefits for no less the $45,000 a year.

Or…she could hire a director at $60,000 with the same benefits, plus be responsible for paying for the state lunch program and plus all other building and supply expenses.

She could not take anymore kids. Maxed out now. This isn’t a good deal. Members of the Brigantine School board know it.

Sera & Simpson are doing their best to kill Sea Tots say those close to the situation.

Koch may have told a parent that Sea Tots gave up $800,000. Vince Sera may have told people that Sea Tots gave up $400,000. Council and the School Board are scrambling.

That half-day grant, Brig Schools once received, ended badly. The bill and expense was eventually dumped at the taxpayers doorstep.

As you may know, Brigantine just received a 1 year grant for $800,000. to run this program. This will ultimately close down the last private preschool, Sea-Tots. When the grant money dries up, the monster costs will fall on Brigantine taxpayers. Those on a fixed income, and second homeowners, will get hurt the most.

Please attend the SEPT 5, 2018 City Council Meeting, and the Public School meeting on Sept 6.  Make your voice heard. Don’t fall for this Brigantine School Scam.

NOTE: All of this happened…. without informing the public.


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6 thoughts on “Sera & Simpson Accused of Brigantine School Funding Scam, Plan to Shutter Popular Sea-Tots?”

    1. Notice how you say ‘second’ homeowners? They are HOMEOWNERS, period. They should be given an equal opportunity to express their views, and VOTE on situations just like this, where personal deals are being prioritized over the betterment of the community as an entirety. Just because a person grows up in a town does not give them precedent over a newer transplant. And they don’t complain about paying taxes, they complain about the disbursement of said taxes…where are they going, and to whom. Treat every taxpayer equally, since they EQUALLY take the cost burden…

      1. Excellent point, Dave. These ‘second homeowners’ are often poo-poo’d by a very small group of mis-informed, full-time residents. But facts have proven that these so-called ‘second homeowners’ are hard working families that struggle for most of their lives….saving money….growing their small business….in order to buy a shore/vacation home…..that many will eventually move to, full time. Vacation homes are the LIFE BLOOD of shore towns like Brigantine. Builders, Real Estate agents, cleaning services, kitchen & bath contractors, restaurants, landscapers, etc… all depend on these taxpayers….that can’t vote…..and use very little in municipal services. Shame on elected leaders like Guenther, Sera and Simpson for allowing this foolish dis-respect of ALL taxpayers to continue.

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