Governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed a bill that would have absolved Panama Central School District from having to pay a $1.9 million fine from the New York State Department of Education.
The state penalized the school district in 2012, by $4.9 million, for missing final cost reports for a 2005 capital improvement project. Former State Senator Cathy Young had secured $3 million since 2013 to help the district pay down the penalty and avoid passing the burden onto taxpayers in the rural school district. The remaining penalty balance was $1.9 million.
State Senator George Borrello stated his deep disappointment in the Governor’s veto, saying, “There is zero justification for diverting critically-needed education dollars away from the classroom to pay a bureaucratic fine from almost two decades ago.”
Borrello said the original fee was instituted because of an “administrative error on the final cost report for a capital project.” Both he and Cathy Young had made statements that the unresolved fine prevented a merger with the Clymer School District.