West New York BOE votes down $1.5M worth of shared services with town

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In an unforeseen vote that has several groups in town livid, the West New York Board of Education voted down five separate shared services agreements with the town valued at nearly $1.5 million.

A file photo of the West New York Board of Education from their October 24th, 2017 meeting.
A file photo of the West New York Board of Education from their October 24th, 2017 meeting.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The West New York BOE voted down five separate shared service agreements, with a cumulative value of $1,482,668, with the town during last night’s regularly scheduled meeting.

The single vote on the measures was a tie: 3-3-2, with Board President Adam Parkinson, Trustee David Morel and Trustee Denise Mejia voting yes, while Trustees Lorena Portillo, Matthew Cheng and Ron Scheurle voted no.

Additionally, Vice President Damarys Gonzalez and Trustee Jonathan Castaneda abstained on the vote due to conflicts of interest – both elected officials work in Town Hall. Furthermore, Trustee Steven Rodas was absent.

The most expensive shared services agreement impacted by the vote that would’ve seen the BOE pay the town $607,584 to use recreational areas, such as Donnelly Park and Miller Stadium.

Public Affairs Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo told Hudson County View that he remains hopeful that cooler heads will prevail, with a special meeting of the board of education already scheduled for Monday.

“The town and the board of ed have always had a good working relationship and my hope is that we continue that relationship moving forward,” said Cirillo, who oversees the rec department.

“We both provide a valuable service to children in town, specifically through the rec department, so that service can continue to be provided.”

The recreation department’s annual summer day camp, set to start on July 10th, currently has 1,000 kids registered – as well as 150 employees ready to work – and would be significantly hindered if they were unable to use the school facilities, Cirillo added.

Another shared service agreement voted down was for police security details in schools, with an estimated cost of $515,568.

In a statement, Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Thomas Mannion slammed the board for putting the safety of students and staff in jeopardy.

“It comes with great shock and disappointment to learn that certain members of the elected WNY School Board have voted to discontinue the Shared Services Agreement with the Town of WNY, essentially, REMOVING POLICE OFFICERS FROM THE SCHOOLS!,” he said.

“Given the recent number of security incidents at schools across the country, these members feel that the presence of Police Officers in our schools protecting THE CHILDREN AND SCHOOL STAFF is no longer important.”

Mannion further stated that the PBA cut their rates by more than 50 percent in hopes of ensuring the agreement would pass, also stating that the Mayor and Board of commissioners “strongly disapprove” of taking police out of the schools.

The other three shared service agreements were for refuse removal, valued at $195,416, fuel reimbursement for school vehicles such as buses, which would’ve meant making a $100,000 payment to the town, and rec maintenance and preparation – which had an estimated cost of $64,1000.

Monday’s special meeting, set for 6 p.m. at the middle school, located at 201 57th Street, will have the board vote on all of the shared services agreements separately this time.

Parkinson, like Cirillo, hoped this situation could be rectified by Monday evening.

“I am hopeful that this board will reconsider this decision for the best interest of the kids of West New York. School safety and providing quality services for the providing quality services for the people of our town, especially our students, should not be jeopardized,” he said.

“I would strongly encourage the members of the school board to vote in favor of these agreements come Monday,” he said, clarifying that he was speaking on his own behalf and not the board or school district as a whole.

Superintendent of Schools Clara Brito Herrera could not immediately be reached for comment.

A copy of each shared service agreement can be read below.

WNY BOE – rec facilities

WNY BOE – police details

WNY BOE – refuse removal

WNY BOE – fuel reimbursement

WNY BOE – fuel reimbursement WNY BOE – rec maintenance

9 COMMENTS

  1. That is a lot of money to protect our children… i guess everyone is dipping their hands on the boe cookie jar.. and you really believe the union president is worried about the safety of the children?

    • Your statement is disingenuous and ignorant at best. After 9/11, WNY was forward thinking in having police in the schools. Each year since, we’ve seen more and more of these horrific incidents of violence in our schools in America. With each unfortunate event, West New York is praised for not waiting and reacting to a horrible incident. When a Union City school last year was breached by an intruder, it was closer to home and naysayers like you whom erroneously think, “Nothing will happen here,” were silent.

      Unfortunately, in this day and age, we need police in schools. I’m glad that my kids get to become friendly with police instead of them being brainwashed by tv and people like you to think they’re the Gestapo. They put their lives on the line everyday yet some people think they only care about money. I’ve found in my experience that those views are held and shared by academy dropouts and/or jaded guys caught for DUI, etc.

      Keep the ignorance to a minimum please. We get enough petulant behavior from the Twitter barrage from the Oval Office.

  2. This is the Roque puppets bailing out the Town, make no question. It is completely insane that WNY pays the BOE $4 for 4 service agreements, yet the BOE pays the Town more than $1.5m. Seems pretty obvious that the Town is flipping the Abbot district money to the township so that Roque and his goons can line their pockets, and those of their friends

  3. “We both provide a valuable service to children in town, specifically through the rec department, so that service can continue to be provided.” “The recreation department’s annual summer day camp, set to start on July 10th, currently has 1,000 kids registered – as well as 150 employees ready to work – and would be significantly hindered if they were unable to use the school facilities, Cirillo added.”
    —————————————————————————————————————
    John, I’m confused here. The summer camp is at town schools, which the BOE owns. Shouldn’t the town be paying the BOE to use those facilities? So in actuality the town’s “summer camp” is paid by the BOE? None of the service agreement links that you attached are for the town to use the schools, so I don’t understand Cirillo’s quote.

  4. Though it may make some sleep better at night knowing that a police officer is assigned to a school. The harsh reality is no 1 police officer can do much against a motivated person with an assault rifle…I say beef up patrol and save the 500k….

    • Your comment is quite ignorant. That “1 cop” is trained to handle situations as they occur and immediately start protecting kids and teachers. If a deranged gunman walks into a school and starts shooting, who do you think will act the fastest in the best interest of everyone??? It will undoubtedly be that “1 cop”…… patrolmen don’t see what’s going on inside.

    • ASK ANY PARENT WHO LOST A CHILD IN A SCHOOL SHOOTING IF THAT CHILD’S LIFE WAS WORTH NOT SPENDING MONEY! ONE COP MAY BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 0-3 KILLED OR 13 or more!

      I guess that you don’t know that all of the officers are “Active Shooter” trained. Also 3-5 SWAT guys are working per shift, daily. Also, one of the recent active shooter incidents was ended by a single officer present at the school.
      Beefing up Patrol is a good thought.
      That= higher taxes. The Mayor actively replaces those lost to attrition to keep taxes stable. He works closely with the Director to achieve this. Of course the cops want more cops! But, they understand that all over the State, money is being withheld and cut from towns.

      The reason that I know these things is because I make it my business to reach out and meet with the Mayor and Commissioners, speak to them at events in the community, take advantage of the Police Director’s open door policy, vote after learning a politician’s agenda, thought process and desired outcomes. Others don’t vote, sit and complain after begging for jobs for themselves and/or unqualified family members, then turn around and disparage the Mayor afterwards.

      Safety is my number 1 concern. Other towns are desirable because they are willing to pay for their services without question. Those cops are much higher paid than ours, yet WNYPD gives back so much to our kids. It’s sickening to hear complainers that do nothing, don’t participate in the process, and only take take take.

      My daughter just graduated from Memorial. Guess who donated their time and raised money for Project Graduation? The cops. Guess who got my younger son a PlayStation for Xmas? The town Xmas party mostly funded by the P.B.A. I guess the 60 kids in the 2week Junior Police Academy (which is totally funded by police fundraisers and facilitated by cops donating their time to positively impact the children of our community) are going to be the only ones with something positive to do this summer.

      Yes, I love the cops. I wanted to be one but couldn’t because of my physical situation. But I’m not a hater like those that got kicked out of the Academy or couldn’t go because they used to sell weed or got arrested for possession of cocaine or because they got arrested for driving drunk or beating their girlfriends like most people that talk crap about them. Which one are you?

  5. WNYCitizen, very valid points. Having cops in schools is a good idea. I’m sure this will pass when voted on separately. Do you really think the BOE should be paying over $600K to use the town’s parks? Also, ask your daughter how often cops in Memorial High School are just seating in the main entrance on their cell phones. Again, I agree cops should be in the school but with full attention on our kids!

    • She knows many of them by name, they know of her accomplishments and talk to her and encourage her to do well in life. Unfortunately, I teach my kids to worry about themselves and not if a cop is texting with his supervisor about a report or emailing about their own kids. Yes, cops are afforded leeway that others don’t have, just like teachers have summers off, just like CEOs have Golden Parachutes, just like Account Executives have company cars and expense accounts, just like firefighters work one day and have 3 off, just like…. I don’t concern myself with the business of the next man. If I was willing to run towards trouble and put my life on the line like them or run into a burning building to save someone’s kids and family pet, then I’d do that job. I’m not so the cell phone thing is petty distraction to the issues. They do their jobs and that phone won’t stop them.

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