It’s been 6 long months since we posted an update to the "Save BCBA" website; in that time we have made several attempts to reason with Ms. Burns and her cohorts at WIBOE. We’ve asked numerous times for them to Cease & Desist with their harassment and business obstruction tactics. We even offered a fair and equitable solution to the expansion desires of Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC), but all fell on deaf ears.
Instead, Ms. Burns has decided to escalate her harassment of BCBA and worsen an already contentious situation. Her latest stunt amounts to a criminal violation on a Federal level and further demonstrates how she thinks she owns the Public Schools she’s been entrusted to oversee.
With this stunt Burns again shows how she is willing to use her public office to provide private gains for herself and her personal associates. In contempt of the West Islip taxpayers who pay her bloated salary, she now runs unchecked by any authority or watch dog group and does whatever she wants as it relates to the waste, fraud and the abuse she facilitates at Westbrook Elementary.
So what did "The Matriarch of West Islip" do this time? In her latest attempt to harass BCBA out of Westbrook, Ms. Burns has closed off access to the only handicap ramp and bathroom facility in the building.
A clear and blatant violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the same law that made WIBOE install this ramp and bathrooms in the first place), Ms. Burns hopes her latest action will be her final blow to KO BCBA and drive us out of the space we honestly rent here at Westbrook.
Since taking control of the West Islip School District, Ms. Burn’s crusade to drive BCBA from her halls has included taking away our parking, turning off our heat, changing our access codes so we can’t enter the building and even removing items we use from the space we rent. Her actions have clearly been disruptive to BCBA and yes, have made it increasingly harder for us to operate and meet our expenses.
But by closing off the buildings only handicap entry point, Burns is now prohibiting BCBA from running its Special Needs programs ( 1 - 2 ) by removing access for those with disabilities or special needs. At this juncture, asking this corrupt public official if she has any shame is pointless.
We have struggled with the thought of suing Ms. Burns and her out of control BOE for over a year now. We realize the people who will pay the settlement judgment for this debacle are not Ms. Burns, Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) or others on the WIBOE who are in on this charade. No, this tab like all the other waste, fraud and abuse going on at Westbrook will be passed onto you, the West Islip taxpayer. Basically, BCBA must now sue the very people it is dedicated to serving; this is the corner Burns and her cohorts have boxed us into.
Unfortunately, we can no longer hope that these out of control public officials come to their senses and allow BCBA to continue providing the great youth services it offers. We must move ahead with our legal action.
Someone needs to stop these out of control, self-serving bureaucrats and their greedy business associates. Somebody needs to expose the “Six Degrees of Corruption” that links these people, their actions and the financial benefit they’ve gained at taxpayer expense. Somebody has to expose this "Hustle"!
On Tuesday 9/29/15, BCBA took its first step in its action against Ms. Burns and the WIBOE. We filed a claim with the ADA, in preparation of moving forward with our civil proceeding.
We’ve gained a lot of insight since this all started. Since our last update we’ve spoken to more people including additional parents, day care workers and school employees who are still outraged by what’s going on here at Westbrook.
Many feel they have too much to lose if they speak up or get involved. Those with kids (who attend WI Schools) feel they will somehow be retaliated against. They’ve expressed concerns that their kids won’t make the honor roll or a specific team; in essence they have been bullied into silence.
As an organization that offers youth programs like “Bully Beaters”, BCBA in not afraid or intimidated by these people. We look forward to exposing the depths of the “Hustle” Ms. Burns and her cohorts on the WIBOE have perpetrated on the West Islip taxpayers.
CLICK TO ENLARGE
After speaking with additional people/sources, we believe it will be shown that Ms. Burns acting in concert with Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) and some others on the WIBOE, orchestrated this fiasco at Westbrook.
We believe it will be shown that Ms. Burns acting in concert with Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) and some others on the WIBOE, used their PUBLIC positions to provide unfair advantages and favors to their private business associates reaping them large financial gains and benefits at taxpayer expense.
But before we move forward with new information, let’s review some of what we already know.
Some years back, the WIBOE was caught with their hand in the taxpayer "cookie jar" to the tune of over a million dollars. It took the efforts of a forensic audit from a very determined resident to uncover that “Hustle”. Apparently no one was ever prosecuted; most of the rats jumped ship and turned in their resignations rather than being brought up on charges. I’m sure they are all enjoying retirement with their generous pensions and benefit packages paid for by you the West Islip taxpayer. This is an important piece of information as it helps establish the less than honest pattern/history of the WIBOE. What’s that old adage, "Those of you who forget history are doomed to repeat it"?
At some point Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) got herself out of the Elmont School District and onto the WIBOE. This is important because as you already know it was her vote that closed Westbrook’s doors and opened its windows for private businesses to move in and begin reaping record profits. It will be interesting to learn if Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) has any similar "business arrangements" in her prior School District. There seems to be a lot of "Good Money" in closing these "Bad Schools".
Prior to having Westbrook closed, that interesting pattern arises. After giving the community countless assurances that Westbrook would remain open, the WIBOE went to them for money to upgrade the school. A new boiler system, central A/C and new state of the art Media Room were all part of the upgrades under the guise that this was all being done for “the children”. We’ve been told the final tab was over a million tax payer dollars.
Under oath Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) will be asked if she made any promises to Ms. Burns or any of her fellow board members - if they backed her efforts to close Westbrook. Who knows what form her Quid Pro Quo may have come in; but there is some pretty nasty chatter being floated about inappropriate alliances between Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) and other BOE members. In any other setting disgusting rumors like these would be discounted immediately, but knowing the history of this BOE and how much money was at stake if Westbrook closed, rumors like these become plausible.
Again, how far back any Quid Pro Quo, back room deals or under the table arrangements go is anybody’s guess but a lot of interesting things started happening as soon as Westbrook was closed. For one, Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) took her for-profit school, which was operating from a strip mall around the corner, to the beautiful space she now occupies here at Westbrook. It is no coincidence that the area she landed in just happens to be the wing that benefited the most from all those expensive taxpayer fixes and upgrades she helped get pushed through years earlier.
The space now being occupied by Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) is roughly three times the square footage of her previous location. Yet somehow all the square footage she now rents here at Westbrook costs her less than half of what she paid at her previous location. To sweeten the deal (as if this deal needs anymore sweetening), Ms. Burns has ordered the school’s custodial crew (publicly paid employees) to clean and maintain the space occupied by this for-profit business. Keep in mind that this is a pre-school with dirty diaper bins, vomit pails, tons of chairs, tables, door knobs, mirrors, etc. that must be cleaned every day!
Ask any cleaning service and they will tell you that a contract for an account like SSCC would cost the business owner between $1,500 - $2,000 a month. With all these publicly funded perks (favors) it is easy to see how Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) was able to (almost overnight) take her small for profit Pre-School from grossing $300-$500K a year to almost a quarter million dollars a month! Yep, pretty sweet.
To be fair, Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) is not the only one benefiting from Ms. Burns taxpayer funded generosity. Ms. Burns also provides your public workers to Divine Dance, the other for-profit business operating from the front of Westbrook. In addition, Divine Dance was given the ability to sublet vacant space at Westbrook at three times the rate taxpayers were told this space would garner them ($10 per sq. ft.). At $25 to $30 per sq. ft., Divine Dance is also cashing in on all the profits this publicly paid for building is generating these privately owned businesses.
Another perk provided to Divine Dance is how she’s allowed to operate under Ms. Burns “Code Enforcement” double standard. Ms. Burns threatens BCBA with legal action anytime it uses the hallways, be it for a sign-up staging area or the massage chair we were forced to remove. Yet somehow Divine Dance is never harassed for any of the same violations.
So how much do all these perks/favors Ms. Burns provides for free to all these for-profit businesses cost you (custodial workers, supplies, bags, toilet tissue, soap, sanitizers, paper goods etc.)? That answer can be found in her latest budget. Recently, a sharp West Islip taxpayer questioned how the budget for school maintenance and cleaning supplies had almost quadrupled over last year’s budget. You’d be well served to read about it on the watchdog site Eye On West Islip School one of the few websites that stays engaged.
For the record, BCBA cleans and maintains its own space. We’ve told every custodian that their job does not pay them to clean our gym and though we respect every one of these hard working public employees, using them to clean the space rented by private businesses/organizations is both wrong and is most likely illegal!
Remember this the next time you moms must hold a bake sale or car wash to raise money for some student expense because Ms. Burns can’t find any money in her budget to help “the children”.
Westbrook no longer functions as a Public Elementary School, yet somehow Ms. Burns has been able to get all the building and parking code violations overlooked. Westbrook really should be zoned as a Mini or Strip Mall as it houses eight retail businesses. Yet the codes governing similar parking lot/building situations at other locations don’t apply here. For some reason there is no need for fire lanes, adequate parking slots or now an accessible (unbarred) handicap access ramp or handicap bathrooms.
Tying this “Hustle” together is like peeling back the layers of an onion, just when you thought it couldn’t get any more bizarre, another layer reveals itself. West Islip is a hardworking community. Sure, they may not hold their public officials to account, but I can tell you they have no problem speaking about them.
In a recent conversation with a well-respected businessman from the community, we were told that Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC), WIBOE member was also on the Islip Township ZBA. If this is true, it could very well explain the “you wash my back and I’ll wash yours” relationships going on at Westbrook.
Whether Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) uses her position on the ZBA to gain or provide unfair advantages to her business associates will have to be proven. But even Stevie Wonder can see the many conflicts, pay backs and possible legal violations this "Hustle" holds.
Now, after all this nonsense, Ms. Burns is once again asking the West Islip taxpayers to float another million dollar bond. Seems Westbrook has some leaks in its roof and when it rains really hard, the space rented by Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) and Divine Dance gets a wittle wet.
Keep in mind, BCBA has lost one TV and two computer monitors due to the leaks in its space. Our solution, move things around and have some buckets and a mop ready for when it really pours.
Before Ms. Burns, Ms. Larosa (Owner/Director of the SSCC) and their cohorts on the WIBOE make the West Islip taxpayers pony up another $1,000,000.00, consider this; ask your two big, privately owned for-profit businesses that are making money hand-over-fist and benefiting from all the free taxpayer goodies and services Ms. Burns provides them each month, to kick back a little. Ask them to start paying for these free services and goodies you give them at the taxpayers’ expense.
At some point you would think the West Islip taxpayers would rise up and shout "Enough Is Enough!" If they didn’t have to pay for all those free goodies and services Ms. Burns gives them each month, the district would easily save $1000 to $3000. Over a year that’s a lot of dough. Do you mean to tell me you can’t fix a few roof leaks with say, $36,000? Come on, Ms. Burns; do it for “the children”!
What a "Hustle".