Reporting Pat Loeb
By Pat Loeb
CAMDEN N.J. (CBS) — The founder of the LEAP Charter School in Camden is denying any impropriety, after her boyfriend, who also works for the school, got a hefty raise as part of a new food services contract.
The Academy’s website says they put a lot of emphasis on its food service program and chef Michele Pastorello not only prepares meals, but teaches healthy eating.
At $95,000 dollars, his salary is well above what entire school districts pay for the job.
The reason for his big raise is hard to clarify.
LEAP’s founder and board chair Gloria Santiago says her relationship with Pastorello is well-known and for that reason she declined to vote on the food service contract that set his salary.
She directed questions to the contractor, Metz Culinary Management. But Metz says, in a statement, the salary was a condition in the Request for a bid Proposal.
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Education says food service contracts for charter schools are exempt from public bidding requirements.