Parents Planning Protest Over Bayonne School District’s Apparent Misuse Of Funds

BAYONNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Millions of dollars are missing from a New Jersey school district and hundreds of teachers are out of jobs.

Monday night, parents are planning a protest in Bayonne, New Jersey.

The concerned parents are gearing up with t-shirts and fliers to fight for their kids’ education after an internal audit revealed 7 to 12 million dollars — or more — missing from the district’s coffers.

“Why isn’t there accountability?” PTA President Alicia Losonczy asks CBS2’s Meg Baker. “We have a superintendent and business administrator who were not watching the books and let this happen.”

It’s a case of “whodunnit,” and parents — including the city’s mayor — want answers.

“I want to know where the money went,” Mayor James Davis said.

Losonczy and fellow parent Jamie Lynn share the mayor’s concern.

“I can’t tell you where the money was spent,” Board of Education trustee Charles Ryan said. “We are looking at the current budget.”

Ryan is a trustee but doesn’t directly oversee the books. The mismanagement of funds forced the Board of Education to lay off 40 percent of the state staff, cutting 261 teachers.

Students walked out in protest two weeks ago.

“We have a very real problem,” Ryan said. “Again, the central office overspent. We have to wait until an audit comes out to see how it was overspent and who was responsible for it.”

Business administrator Leo Smith won’t go on camera, and other officials say his defense is that he is “not an accountant.”

But Mayor Davis wants county prosecutors to track the money.

“I want to know if someone needs to be held accountable for what happened to our district,” he said.

A board of education trustee tells CBS2 the bulk of the staffing decisions will be made up by the new superintendent who takes over in July.

The current superintendent declined to speak on camera with CBS2.

The state audit is expected to be completed by September.

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