Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vetoed legislation that would have restored $3.1 million to the Smithtown school district lost when the school missed filing deadlines for state reimbursements of construction costs.
According to a Newsday report, Cuomo blocked the $60 million bill, which would have restored aid to the Central Islip, Rocky Point, Babylon, Fredonia and Smithtown districts.
Cuomo told Newsday the state could not afford to lose that money, though Smithtown Superintendent Edward Ehmann cried foul.
Smithtown Superintendent Edward Ehmann, who called the penalty "out of proportion," said the district would have to dip into its reserve funds to cover the $3 million shortfall caused by the veto. The veto also jeopardizes future state payments for ongoing construction, Ehmann said.
The missing $3.1 million has been a sore subject for parents in the district, especially leading up to the May budget vote. Like many districts on Long Island, Smithtown passed a school budget that included program cuts and a tax hike. But since the $3.1 million was earmarked for capital improvements, it couldn't have been used to save program cuts even if the district hadn't lost the money.
The district has also hired Nawrocki Smith LLP as .
The bill was drafted by state Sen. John Flanagan and Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, who earlier this year told Patch he thought the bill would pass.
“I feel confident that a bill will pass, I’m hopeful the governor will sign it, but it wouldn’t be fair when you have money already encumbered for that aid to lose it because a report is filed late,” he said in April.