New York state budget sparks debate over effect on Yonkers

The state budget allows Yonkers Mayor Spano some control over the school board. (4/1/14)

YONKERS - The $137.9 billion New York state budget allows Yonkers to be one of the biggest beneficiaries, but its one-time bailout of $28 million leaves a budget gap that has many people upset with Albany.

Yonkers City Council President Liam McLaughlin says the state budget signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo has too many strings attached to it. He says the schools are trying to dig their way out of a multimillion-dollar budget gap with at least $45 million of it caused by a budget mistake.

McLaughlin claims Yonkers schools spent state aid it never really had. The city council may have to borrow money to close that gap, but in exchange for permission to borrow, the city would have to report to the state education commissioner and the state comptroller.

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Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano says he understands the council majority's concerns but says this budget will prevent massive layoffs in schools. Both the mayor and some council members have been calling for more oversight of the school district.

State Sen. Andrew Stewart-Cousins says that's part of the consequences of borrowing. According to Stewart-Cousins, the state would only be making recommendations, not directives.

The state budget also allows Yonkers Mayor Spano some control over the school board, where he will be able to consolidate some services in an effort to close the budget gap.

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