YONKERS - The newly elected Yonkers City Council president has announced his intention to create a Department of Education in the city after the head of public schools retires.
The announcement comes after an external audit allegedly found a $55 million shortfall in the school budget because the Board of Education did not get the state funding it had anticipated in the spending plan.
Mayor Mike Spano and City Council President Liam McLaughlin say the city deserves more input since it annually gives the Board of Education more than $500 million.
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"This has nothing to do with power," says McLaughlin. "This is about accountability. It's about direct oversight of the largest part of the city budget."
School Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio announced his sudden retirement Friday, sparking speculation that he was forced out by the mayor.
The mayor's office denies that Spano asked the superintendent to resign. It says Pieroazio offered to retire.
The school's audit is expected in the coming weeks.