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New Rochelle School Board Spends 600% More Than Yonkers School Board

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New Rochelle School Board Spends 600% More Than Yonkers School Board

April 30, 2009 - 11:33
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In the Journal News' School boards rack up expenses Ernie Garcia reports on School Board expense reports. He compares Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Yonkers. Why were these the only three districts compared? Why were other districts not included? How does Syracuse fit in?

Mr. Garcia reports:

Despite their smaller districts, school board members in Mount Vernon and New Rochelle file more expense reports than their Yonkers counterparts.

Members of New Rochelle's Board of Education racked up $28,312.24 in expenses in the period from July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2008, compared with Yonkers' Board of Education expenses of $4,804.71.

Where is the money being spent?

School officials in Mount Vernon and New Rochelle defended their board members' expenditures, which are predominantly related to travel and conference attendance. They said travel to conferences is critical to school districts because board members receive training and bring back useful ideas.

New Rochelle Assistant Superintendent John Quinn said that not attending conferences can be costlier.

"It's very important to have an informed board and a cohesive board," Quinn said. "They've brought back substantive ideas, such as the fast-forward method of training students who have learning disabilities."

How do the numbers compare?

Expense filings

Yonkers
School board 2006-07: $2,988.23 School board 2007-08: $1,816.48
Superintendent 2007: $4,152.33 Superintendent 2008: $2.934.56

Mount Vernon (incomplete records provided)
School board 2006-07: $9,609.24 School board 2007-08: $1,639.60
Superintendent 2007: $1,891.71 Superintendent 2008: $3,068.07

New Rochelle
School board 2006-07: $10,959.96 School board 2007-08: $17,352.28
Superintendent 2007: $3,453.56 Superintendent 2008: $6,463.64

Syracuse
School board 2006-07: $1,881.16 School board 2007-08: $1,281.85
Superintendent 2007: $5,955.07 Superintendent 2008: $1,197.97

There are 3 Comments

Robert Cox's picture

Quinn is constantly referring to the "fast-forward method of training students who have learning disabilities." He has mentioned at board meetings, budget meetings, community events and now he is talking about the Journal News.

It appears to be his answer for every occasion. Asked about how the district cut the school budget he talks about the fast-forward method, ask him about the quality of the schools he mentions the fast-forward method, ask him about out-of-control spending by the school board he mentions the fast-forward method.

So, what is this "fast-forward method" he keeps talking about. Well, first of all it is not a "method" it is a software program developed and sold by Scientific Learning.

You can read all about it here: http://www.scilearn.com/products/index.php

Any software company would be more than happy to send a representative to New Rochelle to put on a software demonstration of the school board so I cannot imagine why a school board member would have to travel to some conference to see this software? More to the point, why would school board members be traveling to evaluate software intended to teach kids how to read better. Doesn't the school district already pay people a great deal of money - special educators, reading specialists, etc. - who already know about software programs like this and aren't they far better qualified to evaluate such software? Is there a single board member who is certified in special education or "speech and language"?

As Mr. Quinn has brought it up yet again, this time to justify school board expenses 6-7 times higher than Yonkers (which according to U.S. News & World Report has a better high school), perhaps he can be more specific.

Is someone willing to come to the next board meeting and ask Mr. Quinn to explain which board members traveled to which conference to evaluate what reading remediation programs, when this happened, and how much it cost? As THIS is the only specific justification he has provided for out-of-control school board spending, it would be nice to determine if it is even true.

Is it possible to get a breakdown for individual expenditures for the last three years? Is it possible to get this informatin volunatrily without demanding it trhough a freedom of information request? or is the district too emarrassed?

This is just another example of our wasted tax money. Why are New Rochelle Board of Ed. expenses so high. This is just crazy. What are we paying for?? Why is it going up so much every year????

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