Roscoe penalty waiver clears Legislature

One of three bills that would spare four local school districts – Newburgh, Chester, Monticello and Roscoe – a combined $19 million in state penalties for allegedly failing to submit reports for past building projects has now been approved by both legislative chambers in Albany.

The Assembly voted unanimously for a bill waiving Roscoe School District’s $1.4 million fine on Thursday, about two weeks after senators did the same. Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, D-Forestburgh, and Sen. Jen Metzger, D-Rosendale, sponsored that bill.

The Senate approved similar bills on behalf of Newburgh, Chester and Monticello school districts on May 15, and the Assembly has moved them through two committees and is poised to pass them as well. (Their sponsors are Gunther, Metzger, Sen. James Skoufis, D-Woodbury, and Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson, D-City of Newburgh.) Those two bills would forgive fines of $12.5 million for Newburgh, $3.3 million for Chester and $1.9 million for Monticello (Newburgh and Chester are combined in a single bill).

The bills’ fate after clearing the Legislature is uncertain. Lawmakers approved similar legislation for three of those districts last year but didn’t send it to Gov. Andrew Cuomo until December, at which time he vetoed the bills. He said then that the proposals should be addressed in the state budget, although lawmakers were then unable to include the waivers in the budget enacted this spring.

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