EXCLUSIVE HEZITORIAL ANALYSIS: Remedy to Financial Crisis at the Yonkers Board of Education By HEZI ARIS

eHezi Hezitorial 18 Comments

Spano_Mike PIERORAZIO_BernardThe writing herein is made in the Yonkers Tribune. The brilliant remedy and concept resides elsewhere. A respectful, Thank you!” is in order in deference to the person who shared it with us.  To appreciate the solution, permit the initial telling of what has transpired and that which is known. 

What is known is that sometime within the last two weeks, Yonkers Public Schools Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio, circumventing the Yonkers Board of Education Trustees, personally advised Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano of a $55 million shortfall to the Yonkers Board of Education (YBoE) budget that had accrued over FY 2012-2013 and FY 2013-2014. The deficit for FY 2012-2013 amounts to $26.9 million, while the deficit for FY 2013-2014 amounts to $ 28.1 million, adding up to the aforementioned $55 million shortfall.

In the landmark Campaign for Fiscal Equity case, CFE v State of New York, the court explicated the State’s constitutional obligation to provide essential resources to all public school children. To that end, the Education Budget and Reform Act of 2007 was passed in April of that year. In the first two years, the NYS Legislature provided installment of the Foundation Aid Formula totaling $2.3 billion. In 2009, aid was frozen at 37.5 percent of the four-year target and aid was cut $2.7 billion in 2010 and 2011. The cut was achieved through a mechanism called the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) which sought to balance the state’s overall budget during the great recession by reducing state school aid. 

The FY 2011-2012 YBoE budget included a Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) to cover the shortfall said to have impacted the Yonkers Public School (YPS).

The practice of including GEA authorized funds in the YBoE budget, when approved by NY State, balanced the budgetary needs of the YPS. The unauthorized respective GEA amount of $26.9 million in FY 2012-2013 and the $28.1 million for FY 2013-2014 were not approved and not authorized. The Office of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano contends the YBoE budget had made two false and unauthorized entries into the financial ledger of the YBoE. Whether inadvertent or fraudulently posted, the City of Yonkers (CoY) is at its worst possible standing facing a blatant $55 million shortfall. That figure assumes the sum of both FY entries listed was spent in entirety. An audit is due to be presented to Mayor Mike Spano in entirety by January 31, 2014. Only then will the shortfall be revealed.

Allegations that revolve about this issue at present are that the ledger entries somehow made their way into the proposed budgets for Fiscal Years 2012-13 and 2013-14. The allegation is that YPS Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio hand a hand in their being insinuated into each of the respectively proposed budgets over a two-year time frame with little if any oversight by the Yonkers Board of Trustees.

The budgets are alleged to have been created and formulated under the aegis of YPS Superintendent Pierorazio. The Certified Public Accounting  (CPA) firm engaged in putting the budget together at that time as per Superintendent Pierorazio’s guidance made an error in designating entries valued as much as $55 million over two distinct fiscal years. Further, under YBoE Trustee rulings, “Fiscal Accounting and Reporting – Series 6000, adopted July 20, 2011, stipulates “the Board of Education insists on clear, complete, and detailed accounting of all financial transactions for which the Board is held accountable.” Further, “the accounting system will yield information necessary for the Board to make policy decisions.” And lastly, “the Board directs the Superintendent of Schools to keep it informed of the financial status of the district through monthly and annual reports. These shall be filed with appropriate governmental bodies as required under law or regulation.”

Something went very wrong. It seems Superintendent Pierorazio’s guidance was off the mark. That guidance was not verified by the CPAs employed at that time. City Hall has not divulged who they were. The endorsed documents were thereafter sent to the Office of the Mayor of Yonkers. The Mayor’s Office did not validate the entries; had they, the error would have initially been caught.  Next the proposed education budgets were referred to the Yonkers City Council who did a cursory verbal walk-through to the YBoE documents and garnered a 7-0 vote approving the budgets to the delight of Yonkers City Hall and the City Council membership. Deadlines toward approval eclipsed study of the budget proposals. The final step was to present the city and school budgets to the New York State Comptroller’s Office who would come to approve the budget proposals. They process has thereby soiled the New York State Comptroller's Office. The accounting firm engaged at that time is unknown to the Yonkers Tribune.

Every possible form of scrutiny fell short of protecting the taxpayer from this calamitous financial outcome.

The only solution, thanks to the brilliant mind that distilled a solution for the City of Yonkers and New York State, is both correct and doable, should remedy be at the heart of this crisis.

Yonkers Corporation Counsel must be instructed to file suit for malpractice again the CPAs that prepared the financial books at the behest of the YBoE.

Superintendent Pierorazio, should he have an explanation as to what  transpired could have advised the Yonkers Tribune Editor who called Mr. Pierorazio’s personal cell phone three times this past week to no avail.

Further Mr Pierorazio’s offer of resignation to Mayor Spano is meaningless. Superintendent Pierorazio must tender his resignation to his boss, the Yonkers Board of Education Board of Trustees. They have the power to accept his resignation.

No matter how this crisis settles down, has Yonkers City Hall devised any protocol by which false entries can be found, rejected and expunged prior to winning endorsement and validation from all those authorized to pass judgment on the document?

There are many more issues that are ancillary to those mentioned herein. They will be broached in the near future.

eHeziEXCLUSIVE HEZITORIAL ANALYSIS: Remedy to Financial Crisis at the Yonkers Board of Education By HEZI ARIS

Comments 18

  1. Billy Wilson asked what’s next?
    What’s next is- parents stand up for your children (parents who are not afraid to speak up for fear of their jobs, or connections etc.) Demand accountability, demand that we have a voice a say in what happens in this school district.
    We are taxpayers!

  2. Remember Hornsby?? Came from Houston and was found guilty of giving YPS computer contracts to his relatives. Another creep that was paid handsomely to steal. No leadership.

  3. Wasn’t Pierorazo recognized as Supt of Year recently! Doesn’t get any better that ALL oversight of budget process seems to be just for show. How is that any different than the City budget? City Council members haven’t any real knowledge of the process either. A true disgrace and shows to NYS that YONKERS has total incompetence.

  4. Sorry NY, tax takers get to vote also. Just the way it is set up. That shows the negative side of elected school boards, same as elected officials.

  5. Bernard has some set. Very full of himself. Overspends 55 million dollars and has children show up at Board Meeting the next day pleading on his behalf. The mayor should have had him escorted out of the building last week.Disgrace!

  6. I will tell you where the SELF SERVING PTA IS, they are working as the NEW HEAD OF The Elderly or Aging after getting a promotion with a six figure salary at City Hall! The NYS PTA has been BOUGHT OFF my friend. THAT is why you will hear NOT a PEEP. Shame on the PTA for allowing this complete conflict of interest to continue, especially NOW.

  7. elsie harris was a bit harsh mr. sad, the obtuse side of possibility may go something like this: the boe well knew the shortfall was there. They wait for that legislation as well as the city waits for it like flies on shit so don’t let either party fool you.
    They waited until the teachers had their contract in place, then the mayor then waited until the police had their contract in place.
    now the ploy, supt. gives the bad news(wink), spano scolds him and asks for oversight, which he knows he will not get, at best an elected school board and separate budget.
    In the mean time all of those workers who have not bent the knee will have to deal with the new shortfall because by law, the boe cannot be shorted, even if they are hoist by their own petard.
    Check(in chess), anyone have the next move?

  8. Busing!! When the federal judge ordered it, it had already been proven to be a disaster in other cities but he did it anyhow. Busing is approximately 10% of the BOE budget,that’s right almost 50 MILLION dollars a year. Talk about a real waste. How about the $100,000.00 for a bathroom in the superintendents office. As many other writers have said the BOE is a giant sinkhole. Pierozio’s pension should be withheld but it won’t and the remaining years on his contract will probably be paid too…It’s no different than the rest of Yonkers

  9. Oh, where to begin? Let’s start with a superintendent of one of the largest school districts does not even live in the district that he represents. His contract for $265K a year was approved behind closed doors with no public (translation–taxpayer) transparency. He spent $500M a year with no accountability to anyone. Not one member of the city council ever showed any concern for how taxpayer money was spent. No mayor ever expressed concern about how taxpayer money was spent. The leaders in Yonkers only care about enriching themselves with taxpayer dollars and no accountability to anyone. This fact alone should cause an outrage in the city, but people are only worried about the Super Bowl next week. No one cares. No one stands up to call out the corruption. And those same people will vote in this riff raff each year. The city is doomed. The Titanic is sinking, but who cares because the band is still playing. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

  10. The silly council every year passes budgets without knowing all the figures. This is a breach go their fiduciary responsibility.
    NYC commissioner = $150,000 for 1,000,000+ students
    Pioriazzio YBoE. = $300,000 for 25,000. Student
    Wonder how much this has got to do with ramming the $1.5 billion school building project down the taxpayers throats.
    Before one dollar is given to a private company, all the facts need to be published, especially studies that prove brand new buildings will bring academic results befitting g of our little einstein’s.
    It’s amazing how the sill council are goose stepped right behind SpaNUTs

  11. We should go back to neighborhood schools. Save a tremendous amount of money without the busing. The schools are all already failing so there shouldn’t be any concern about south Yonkers failing. The majority of schools have no PTA and no parent involvement because parents don’t have cars and are so far away from schools. Most teachers do not meet majority of parents due to this fact among many others.

  12. The CFO & other high paid co-horts of the Supt all making $175,000 to $200,000 per year must also submit their resignations since they bear blame for the fiscal cover-up. Where is the outrage from the self-serving Yonkers PTA.

  13. It is truly amazing to see the ignorance displayed on the previous comment. One could draw the conclusion that since the accusation is so wild, that you must be part of the “smoke screen” of alleged wrongdoing on the part of this long time and trusted public school educator.
    Now that you’ve kissed the Mayor’s ring, you can collect your thirty pieces of silver. The great Spanofous always rewards his minions.

  14. Everybody knows that Mr. Pierorazio is a crook, whether he gave his resignation to Mayor Spano or anyone else! He has been cheating the children of Yonkers since he became Superintendent…money that has been delegated to the school budget has always been mysteriously disappearing every year….now he says there is a shortfall in the budget….what a bunch of crap that is!!!! Please look at his stock portfolio…you will find the money!!!!! Good Bye and Good Luck!!!!!

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