PANAMA – New York State Senator George Borrello says he is “deeply disappointed” that Governor Cuomo has vetoed legislation that would have released the Panama Central School District from paying the remaining $1.9 million in fines they owe the state Education Department.
Borrello released a statement on the action Thursday morning.
He says with local school districts in financial crisis due to the pandemic and the loss of state aid, the debt relief he was seeking for the district has never been more urgent.
“It is incomprehensible that the Governor has repeatedly vetoed this legislation that would erase a penalty that never should have been imposed,” said Borrello. “The original $4.9 million fee, instituted because of an administrative error on the final cost report for a capital project, was an enormous financial blow to a small, struggling rural school district and its taxpayers.”
Assistance was provided by his predecessor, Senator Cathy Young, and Assemblyman Andy Goodell, in securing funds to help mitigate the negative impact.
“Yet, despite their efforts, this unresolved fine prevented a long-sought merger with the Clymer School District that would have been a great benefit to both students and taxpayers,” furthered Borrello. “No district should be put in this position, which is why I am co-sponsoring Senate Bill 4209, which would forgive all state school districts who have been burdened with oppressive fines for building aid administrative reporting errors. In these difficult economic times with schools facing devastating state aid cuts, these fines are unjustifiable.”