Wednesday, 24 June 2009 14:22
The state legislature passed a bill sponsored by Senator Craig M. Johnson, (D-Port Washington,) and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, (D-Great Neck), that would enable the Port Washington Union Free School District to recover an estimated $1.4 million in state funding.
The funding stems from a series of repayments for capital projects within the district between 1989 and 1995. The district had received reimbursements for the state’s portion of the expenses, but had to relinquish the funding following the discovery that some paperwork associated with the projects had not been filed with the state.
There were no allegations of malfeasance connected to unfiled documents, which occurred under a previous school administration.
“It’s just plain wrong that the state penalized today’s taxpayers for what, by all accounts, were administrative oversights that in some cases occurred two decades ago,” Senator Johnson said. “I am proud to have worked with my partner in the Assembly, Michelle Schimel, and Port’s current school Superintendent Dr. Geoffrey Gordon to help recoup the funding that this district was rightly entitled.”
“Senator Johnson and I were able to achieve the results necessary to give relief to Port Washington taxpayers. I’m just glad that we were able to prevent a minor filing error from becoming a massive financial burden on homeowners,” said Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel.
“I want to publicly thank and commend State Senator Craig Johnson and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel for their outstanding efforts in helping our BOE, schools and taxpayers recover funding dating back to the 1989-1995 time period,” said Dr. Gordon. “Although no current legislator, BOE member or Central Office administrator were involved in the missing paperwork then, we personally spent numerous additional hours, days, weeks and years reconstructing the paperwork for the missing project papers and meeting with State Education Department to help recover the state funding. Led by Senator Johnson and Assemblywoman Schimel, I want to especially thank Past BOE President Rob Seiden, BOE Budget Chair Jean Marie Posner, the entire current BOE and Assistant Superintendent Mary Callahan for their tireless efforts of support including trips to Albany with me beginning in 2004. Finally, Senator Johnson’s Chief of Staff Rafe Lieber worked with us as an unsung hero in recovering the $1.4 million for Port Washington’s taxpayers and helping our students.”
The bill (S.714-A/ A.1356-A) passed the Senate two weeks ago and was approved by the Assembly in April. Both votes were unanimous. It needs to be signed by the Governor in order to become law.