Teacher/Marine says Newark BOE didn’t make pension contributions during military service

Andrew Marcantonio claims the Newark Board of Education failed to make necessary pension contributions while he was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, according to a federal lawsuit.

Before serving in the U.S. Marines, Andrew Marcantonio was teaching music in Newark Public Schools. (PHOTO: III Marine Expeditionary Force Band/Facebook)

A former teacher for the Newark Board of Education (Newark BOE) has filed a federal lawsuit against the district for failing to make contributions to the teacher’s pension while he was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

The plaintiff, Andrew Marcantonio, says the board employed him as a teacher starting in September 2008. In May 2013, Marcantonio enlisted in the Marines; however, he remained an employee of the Newark BOE until he submitted his resignation after receiving an honorable discharge in July 2017.

According to the lawsuit, the board made only one pension contribution for Marcantonio since May 2013 (which was for June 2013) – despite being required to pay a month’s contribution for each year of military service pursuant to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

Marcantonio says he’s been required to pay in excess of $15,000 to obtain pension service credit for the time of his military service, according to the complaint. The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, plus an order requiring the Newark BOE comply with USERRA.

Of note, the lawsuit states Marcantonio began working for Elizabeth Public Schools in October 2017.

In a Facebook post by the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band, it’s stated that Marcantonio taught General Music (PK-8) prior to becoming a Marine Musician. He holds a B.A. in Music Education from New Jersey City University and is a classically trained pianist (POST BELOW).

Marcantonio is represented by the attorney Damian Christian Shammas. Both Shammas and a spokesperson for the Newark BOE declined to respond to emails seeking comment on this story.

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