Both New York State Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso and Senator Elaine Phillips have pushed bills that rectify the clerical error regarding the 2016-17 transportation contracts through both houses and now await Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature.
“Ensuring that schools in the 16 Assembly District are afforded all possible state aid is among the top concerns on my legislative agenda,” said D’Urso. “When a clerical error arose that would have negatively affected the Port Washington Union Free School District, I pushed A.10824A through the assembly.”
The new bill seeks to mitigate the negative impact to the Port Washington Union Free School District, which would lose a major portion of its state aid due to a clerical error on part of the district, which may result in the loss of transportation aid. It reads, “without the restoration of the transportation aid, the school district would be faced with either cutting the quality and scope of its educational programs or raising the real property tax dramatically. This would place any undue burden on their residents and present hardships to many in their community.”
“Ensuring local schools receive the necessary funding to provide our children with a well-rounded education is paramount and should not be halted by a clerical error,” said Phillips. “When I first learned of the error by members of the Port Washington school board last fall, I pledged my commitment to remedying the situation to prevent the school district from losing a significant portion of state aid. When efforts to include funding in the state budget to offset the error were rejected, I introduced legislation to mitigate the impact to the school and community. It is my hope that the governor will sign this measure into law so that no educational programs will be cut and taxpayers will not be faced with an undue burden due to a simple clerical error.”
While the district was preparing a comprehensive document listing all contracts and extensions required by the State Education Department (SED), they found that the 2016-17 transportation contracts had not been submitted by the SED deadline prior to the start of the 2017-18 school year. The community was notified at the first available Board of Education meeting on Oct. 17, 2017.
“The district is most appreciative to both Senator Phillips and Assemblyman D’Urso for sponsoring bills in their respective houses advocating for the Port Washington Schools regarding the transposition state aid,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Mooney. “We are currently awaiting a decision from the governor and will keep the community apprised.”