Four Hudson Valley school districts may be spared from paying about $19 million in fines due to late paperwork on construction projects.
The state Assembly gave its approval on Tuesday, June 4 to legislation freeing the Orange County school districts of Newburgh and Chester, as well as the Sullivan County school district in Monticello. They allegedly neglected to file final reports on building projects years ago.
The state Senate previously approved the bills last month — and a separate bill to grant Roscoe School District the same penalty waiver in Sullivan County.
The legislation now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signature.
Newburgh, which already has paid the state $5 million of its penalty, is seeking to eliminate its $12.5 million balance that the state Education Department sought to collect. The other outstanding fines were $3.3 million for Chester, $1.9 million for Monticello and $1.4 million for Roscoe.
Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson (D-Newburgh) sponsored the bill to have the fines eliminated.
Jacobson said the lapse was due to a clerical error that left the school districts liable to return all the state aid for the approved capital projects.
Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R-New Windsor) said if the school districts were ordered to pay it would have negatively impacted students and local taxpayers.
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