Authorizes the Fredonia central school district to receive state aid for certain approved capital funded projects.
Ayes (18): Flanagan, Farley, Lanza, LaValle, Marcellino, Maziarz, Ranzenhofer, Robach, Saland, Seward, Oppenheimer, Addabbo, Avella, Breslin, Montgomery, Serrano, Stavisky, Huntley
TITLE OF BILL: An act to validate certain acts of the Fredonia central school district with regard to a certain capital improvement project
The purpose of this legislation is to authorize the Fredonia Central School District to receive state aid for a certain approved capital funded project.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section One of this bill would direct that the capital improvement project number 06-22-01-06-009-008 would, in fact, be eligible for state aid.
Section Two of this bill would ratify and legalize acts pertinent to the above project, and would direct that payment shall be made on such project pursuant to the New York State Education Law.
Section Three of this bill would direct the State Education Department to consider the approved cost as valid and proper obligations of the Fredonia Central School District.
The Fredonia Central School District, neglected to file two Final Cost Reports for a building project with the Office of Facility Planning of the State Education Department (SED) within the established time frame. Requiring the school district to pay back and have anticipated state aid withheld for the projects has been devastating to the school district. This legislation would allow the Education Department to consider the final cost report legalized, validated, ratified and confirmed.
In 2008, during the work on a Final Cost Report (FCR) for some unrelated projects, the Fredonia School Superintendent discovered that no final cost reports had been filed with the state education department as is required in order to receive state aid for two projects that were done in 1998 under the previous school administration.
Ten years after the projects were done, after becoming aware of the error made by his predecessor, the new Superintendent immediately contacted SED and took the necessary steps to complete and submit the long overdue reports.
A special waiver was granted for one of the projects, but the School District was informed that special legislation was required to address the error for the other one, a capital improvement project involving electrical work and asbestos. removal for which the school district had already received $894,000 worth of state aid for.
At no time over the 9-year period since it was due did SED inform the school district that the final cost report was not submitted by the district, nor did they withhold any state aid at any time concerning this project, which is what is typically done if the final cost report is not filed on time. Only when the School District did the right thing and report the problem as soon as it was discovered did SED penalize them for it by retracting their state aid for the project.
For this small school district, this action has caused severe financial distress. This bill would correct this unfair penalization of the school as well as the taxpayers of the district who must bear its cost.
This legislation will have no fiscal implications for the State since the state aid has already been approved and budgeted.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2011: S.2776, Passed Senate and Assembly, Veto NO.71.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6144 IN SENATE January 5, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. YOUNG -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education AN ACT to validate certain acts of the Fredonia central school district with regard to a certain capital improvement project THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative intent. The legislature hereby finds that the Fredonia central school district approved a capital improvement project which is designated project number 06-22-01-06-009-008. In addition, the project was eligible for certain state aid. The legislature further finds that due to ministerial error, the required filing of the final cost report for such project was not made by such district in a timely manner making the district ineligible for certain aid. The legislature further finds that without such aid, the capital improvement project will impose an additional, unanticipated hardship on district taxpayers. S 2. All the acts done and proceedings heretofore had and taken or caused to be had or taken by the Fredonia central school district and by all its officers or agents relating to or in connection with a certain final cost report to be filed with the state education department for project 06-22-01-06-009-008, and all acts incidental thereto are hereby legalized, validated, ratified and confirmed, notwithstanding any fail- ure to comply with the approval and filing provisions of the education law or any other law or any other statutory authority, rule or regu- lation, in relation to any omissions, error, defect, irregularity or illegality in such proceedings had and taken, and provided further that any amount due and payable to the Fredonia central school district for school years prior to the 2011-2012 school year as a result of this act shall be paid pursuant to the provisions of paragraph c of subdivision 5 of section 3604 of the education law. S 3. The education department is hereby directed to consider the approved cost of the aforementioned project as a valid and proper obli- gation of the Fredonia central school district. S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD04188-01-1