Cleveland children without computers and internet are not being educated. The children in the schools superintendent Eric Gordon closed won't graduate. He gets $1 billion a year to educate 36,000 children; enough to make them all geniuses. Now he wants a tax increase in November when he should be resigning.

Six figure pensions are in Cleveland school’s $1 billion pension debt

CLEVELAND, OH – The next time failing Cleveland school superintendent Eric Gordon “skins and grins” his way through the neighborhoods asking for another tax levy, voters should ask him about the $1 billion retired employee pension bill he’s accumulated.  Gordon’s budget for educating 36,000 Cleveland and some suburban school children was $921 million in 2017.  That same year Gordon’s long term debt for public employee pensions exceeded $1 billion.

Gordon’s staggering $1 billion pension debt is identified in Ohio Auditor of State David Yost’s 2017 Comprehensive Annual Finance Report (CAFR).  Gordon and his financial officer, Derek Richey, explain how they set-up Cleveland taxpayers for another levy in 2019. 

Eric Gordon has administrators earning around $200,000 a year who’ll retire with pensions of $125,000 a year for life. Hiring 312 new workers in 2017 inflated the school district’s already more than $1 billion pension fund liability as shown in the state auditor’s CAFR.

The CAFR reveals that Mayor Frank Jackson’s appointed superintendent and school board inflated the district’s 2017 workforce by 312 employees.  Manpower went from 5401 in 2016 to 5713 in 2017. 

Mayor-appointed school boards have failed Cleveland students

Wages cost Cleveland taxpayers $382.7 million and another $138.6 million for medical and pension benefits.  Gordon also negotiated pay raises in 2017 with the Cleveland Teachers Union and seven others.  Pensions, alone, cost Cleveland taxpayers $78 million in 2017.

Yost’s CAFR shows that Gordon and Jackson’s hand and cherry-picked school board is going to run out of “balanced budget” money in 2019 and need another levy to operate without a deficit in 2020.

Cleveland voters have been digging deep into their pockets since 2001 to pay and re-pay for new and renovated school buildings through the passage of construction, operating and maintenance levies.

Despite successful levies in 2012, 2014 and 2016, the state auditor’s CAFR shows Gordon’s inflationary spending is creating an even larger long term pension fund liability that will continue to divert money from programs for students to support the six-figure and high five-figure pensions of provenly-failed administrators.

Host’s audit identified several financial highlights that sets Gordon up to ask Cleveland voters for more money in 2019. 

 Total current and other assets decreased by $28.0 million and capital assets increased by $15.9 million, resulting in a net decrease in total assets of $12.1 million in Governmental Activities.
 Total short-term liabilities increased by $7.5 million and total long-term liabilities increased $170.5
million, resulting in a net increase in total liabilities of $178.0 million in Governmental Activities.
 Total net position decreased $94.2 million in Governmental Activities.
 General revenues accounted for $647.6 million in revenue or 77.9% of all revenues for Governmental
Activities. Program specific revenues in the form of charges for services, sales, grants or contributions
accounted for $183.6 million or 22.1% of total revenues of $831.2 million.
 Total program expenses were $921.6 million in Governmental Activities.
 Among major funds, the General Fund had $690.6 million in revenues and other financing sources and
$724.7 million in expenditures and other financing uses. The General Fund’s fund balance decreased by
$34.1 million.

Despite his budget-inflating 312 employee workforce increase, and more than $1 billion in pension debt, all of Gordon’s academic plans resulted in the Cleveland Municipal School District receiving another “F” on its state report card.   

Yost made the interesting observation in his CAFR that Gordon didn’t have any enterprise activities going on around new school buildings that could generate earning opportunities for the district and even the students.  

Jackson’s “almost got a D” Gordon reacted by devoting a considerable portion of his 2018 State of the Schools address to discussing “Twitter.”

Superintendents in Ohio get to lead billion dollar school districts because they received a certificate. 

Eric Jonathan Brewer

Cleveland's most influential journalist and East Cleveland's most successful mayor is an East Saint Louis, Illinois native whose father led the city's petition drive in 1969 to elect the first black mayor in 1971. Eric is an old-school investigative reporter whose 40-year body of editorial work has been demonstrably effective. No local journalist is feared or respected more.

Trained in newspaper publishing by the legendary Call & Post Publisher William Otis Walker in 1978 when it was the nation's 5th largest Black-owned publication, Eric has published and edited 13 local, regional and statewide publications across Ohio. Adding to his publishing and reporting resume is Eric's career in government. Eric served as the city's highest paid part-time Special Assistant to ex-Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White. He served as Chief of Staff to ex-East Cleveland Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor; and Chief of Communications to the late George James in his capacity as the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's first Black executive director. Eric was appointed to serve as a member of the state's Financial Planning & Supervision Commission to guide the East Cleveland school district out of fiscal emergency and $20 million deficit. Former U.S. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson told Eric in his D.C. office he was the only mayor in the nation simultaneously-managing a municipal block grant program. Eric wrote the city's $2.2 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant application. A HUD Inspector General audit of his management of the block grant program resulted in "zero" audit findings.

As a newspaper publisher, Eric has used his insider's detailed knowledge of government and his publications to lead the FBI and state prosecutors to investigations that resulted in criminal prosecutions of well-known elected officials in Ohio; and have helped realign Cleveland's political landscape with the defeat of candidates and issues he's exposed. Eric's stories led to the indictments of the late Governor George Voinovich's brother, Paul Voinovich of the V Group, and four associates. He asked the FBI to investigate the mayor he'd served as chief of staff for public corruption; and testified in three federal trials for the prosecution. He forced former Cuyahoga County Coroner Dr. Elizabeth Balraj to admit her investigations of police killings were fraudulent; and to issue notices to local police that her investigators would control police killing investigations. Eric's current work has resulted in Cuyahoga County Judge John Russo accepting the criminal complaint he guided an activist to file against 24 civil rights-violating police officers in the city he once led for operating without valid peace officer credentials. USA Today reporters picked up on Eric's police credentials reporting from his social media page and made it national.

Eric is the author of of his first book, "Fight Police License Plate Spying," which examines the FBI and local police misuse of the National Crime Information Center criminal records history database. An accomplished trumpet player and singer whose friendship with Duke Fakir of the Four Tops resulted in his singing the show's closing song, "Can't Help Myself": Curtis Sliwa of New York's Guardian Angels counts Eric among his founding chapter leaders from the early 1980's role as an Ohio organizer of over 300 volunteer crime fighters in Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio. For his work as a young man Eric was recognized by Cleveland's Urban League as it's 1983 Young Man of the Year.

Known in Cleveland for his encyclopedic knowledge of government and history, and intimately-connected with the region's players, every local major media outlet in Cleveland has picked up on one of Eric's stories since 1979. There is no mainstream newspaper, television or radio outlet in Cleveland that does not include an interview with Eric Jonathan Brewer in its archives over the past 40 years.


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