New Questions about the Old Treasurer

September 22, 2015

Eight years ago, the Assistant Superintendent of Finance did all the bookkeeping for the district. The school board president at that time was Nathan Rothschild. Elected by the ultra-Orthodox bloc vote, he did not need to provide the public with his educational experience. Only after he was convicted and sentenced to federal prison did we learn he did not have a high school diploma. While it is not required for a school board trustee to have graduated from school, it is something the public will usually want to know about a candidate before giving him or her their vote.

One of the many questionable activities during Mr. Rothschild’s tenure was the appointment of a paid treasurer; an extra cost to the district since the work had previously been done at no extra cost by the assistant superintendent of finance. The treasurer, Israel Bier, has been receiving salary and benefits for eight years. During that time, there were numerous complaints regarding the quality of his work. Over and over, his numbers just did not add up.

Activists who requested Mr. Bier’s qualifications received highly redacted documents. A new report by Failed Messiah has uncovered that Mr. Bier had no formal education in accounting when he was hired. His entire college education is reported as “Talmudical Studies” at Bais Medrash Elyon in Monsey. This college only offers one degree program, Talmudical Studies, for a tuition of $7,800, but 100% of the 30 students who attend receive an average of $10,400 in state and federal financial aid, according to Perhaps that is the accounting lesson they learn there!

The school district, despite having been cited by the previous monitor, Hank Greenberg, for failure to follow NY Open Government Laws, and despite having subsequently received training from the Committee on Open Government, and despite the current presence of a new monitoring team, continues to redact (black out) politically embarrassing information from documents that the public has a right to see.

Our educational tax dollars have been wasted on an unqualified, incompetent treasurer whose job was done at no cost to the district prior to his arrival. They have been wasted on a Superintendent of Schools who has zero cultural competence for the student body he serves and whose administration has received the lowest grade possible from the state education department. The Chancellor herself has called for Superintendent Klein to be replaced.

The board is supposedly “collaborating” with the new monitor team. If that is true, then the new monitor team is equally responsible for all that continues to be wrong with our district, or have failed to publicly profess where the “collaboration” ends. If the treasurer is unqualified, and the board is responsible for continuing his paycheck, then any “collaborator” with the board is just as responsible. I think the public has been patient enough. Bier must go. Klein must go. We need a new vision for our children this year, before more irrevocable harm is done.

Steven White
Power of 10