YONKERS - Parents of students in Yonkers public schools protested outside a Board of Education meeting Friday night, after longtime Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio announced his sudden retirement two weeks ago.

The rallying parents believe Pierorazio was forced out by Mayor Mike Spano.

The mayor has said the decision for Pierorazio to step down was the result of improperly accounted-for state aid over the past two years. Spano says an external audit found the school district is operating with a deficit that could be up to $55 million.

Spano says he wants the city to have more direct oversight over the school district’s funds. The move would require approval by state lawmakers in Albany.

Pierorazio was at Friday night’s meeting, but declined comment about his retirement.

Inside the meeting at Saunders High School, board members passed two measures. They agreed to spend no more than $50,000 to hire special counsel to review all contracts. They also passed a measure called the Inter-Municipal Agreement, which allows the city's department of finance to provide general financial management services to the Board of Education for remainder of the school year.

A spokesperson for Mayor Spano said the agreement is the first step in providing transparency and accountability between the Board of Education and the city.