New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and the Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick announced today that Jason Cecile of the Syracuse City School District’s (SCSD) After-School Twilight Program pleaded guilty to corrupting the government in the 3rd Degree, in connection with submitting false timecards to SCSD. As part of the plea, Cecile also agreed to resign from his employment at SCSD. This investigation was the result of the coordinated efforts of the New York State Comptroller’s Office and the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office.
“Abuse of public funds should never be tolerated, but is particularly egregious when an educator takes funds meant to improve students’ lives,” said Comptroller DiNapoli. “I thank District Attorney Fitzpatrick for his continuing partnership in combatting public corruption and for holding Mr. Cecile accountable.”
SCSD’s Twilight Program is an after-school credit recovery program located within Syracuse’s Henninger High School for students in need of support in order to graduate on time. SCSD teachers run the program and receive extra pay for teaching classes to Twilight participants.
As the program coordinator, Jason Cecile was in charge of the Twilight teaching schedule. From 2016-2018, he regularly left his job early but submitted timecards that inflated the number of hours he worked. He also directed certain Twilight teachers to submit false time sheets that stated they were at work. Cecile was arrested in May of 2021 along with SCSD teachers Nicole Murray and Tina DeCarlo. Murray and DeCarlo’s cases are still pending in court.
Cecile appeared before Judge Gordon J. Cuffy in Onondaga County Court. He is due back in court on June 3, 2022.
Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption and encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 8th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.