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Cuomo Vetoes School Aid, Smithtown Out $3 Million

Governor will not restore funds, lost due to blown filing deadlines for construction reimbursements.

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.

From Newsday (subscription required):

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.

Pam September 27, 2011 at 06:18 PM
According to people with connections at the Albany level we will still be responsible for the accrued penalties, unless that is something that has been hashed out upstate?? I hope we can get clarification on this tonight.
Pam September 27, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Marion-unfortunately many of the people who were responsible for much of the paperwork errors do not work in the district anymore. I do not know what legal abilities the BoE has to go after them-but would those responsible even have 3 million (if that's the end number) to pay the school district back? Probably not
Pam September 27, 2011 at 06:22 PM
Thanks Camile- it is one that is hard to remember due to the date they have it on-same can be said for the fire department votes :/
Pam September 27, 2011 at 06:26 PM
One opinion: thanks for reminding everyone about the many contracts that are being negotiated right now. I am so afraid they will do back-ended contracts that will destroy us all in a few years. Too many school districts are caving in- only to be financially broke again in 3 years or so time due to the structure of their 4-5 year contracts.
Marion Knott September 27, 2011 at 07:41 PM
The business manager is responsible and then others who should have caught the error. I once forgot to pay our tax bill-I was off by a month since I was in Ann Arbor Mi. with a grandaughter that was terminally ill. No excuse, I paid.
Marion Knott September 27, 2011 at 07:42 PM
The BOE are unpaid.
john September 27, 2011 at 08:23 PM
When Mr Saggesse starts asking guestions about the 3 million dollars I hope Gladys and Scott don't try to cut him off. Remember Gladys was on the board at the time this happened she will cover for Mr Ehmann
Argile September 27, 2011 at 11:47 PM
Brentwood school district gets $160,000,000 in state aid yet people that actually pay their taxes and live in single family homes get stuck with the freeloaders bills. This is why socialized schooling is a failure. Not getting our moneys worth and too many freeloaders. This and getting ripped off by the teachers union is just putting the middle class under. The bubble is going to burst soon and I can't wait.
Candyee September 27, 2011 at 11:54 PM
.. I am NOT a Cuomo fan either...Lived thru his father's regime in the 80's here when I had 3 kids in MS and Elem school... What he did to us here on LI was shameless ... The beginning of the end ,,Randy Andy is a carbon copy of his padre ... All this combined ..omg , it will be a ghost town here,,,
Pam September 28, 2011 at 01:58 AM
Peter should be updating this article since Mr. Ehmann responded to night that are building aid will be reduced for the next 15 years due to this error, and the 3.1 million came out of our state aid number retro from the 10/11 year. Oh and Ehmann's retirement was accepted tonight.
Pam September 28, 2011 at 01:58 AM
Pardon the spelling errors tired after the BoE meeting.
Candyee September 28, 2011 at 02:50 AM
And he leaves with HUGE pension and all the perks ...and could care less about us ..BTW ,,LIPA is raising rates... Never ending story ... Where is the flying dog? Have HAD it here ....
Marion Knott September 28, 2011 at 03:14 AM
Camille, you should be ashamed of yourself! What a disgusting remark to make about Cuomo. I am not for or against him but to call him that "dirty" name. And robkoz, try stepping into the shoes of the poor people you allude to who live in Brentwood who probably have families and are struggling to make ends meet with low paying jobs. Just suppose if our district didn't make an error and Cuomo made all of us pay for their mistakes, you would be screaming about that. The mistake has been made and we have to pay for it. The teachers union has nothing to do with anything. When you go to bed tonight people, count your blessings.
Argile September 28, 2011 at 03:43 AM
Marion, what rock do you live under? Realy. The people that abuse vastly outnumber the people that truly need help. And the people that abuse are gonna eat us out of house and home. The days of Long Island being the best place to raise a family is long gone thanks to people that feel entitled to everything from a free education to a full pension at everyone else's expense. The problem with people like you and our elected government is they refuse to weed out those that abuse. Before you know it we'll be the next Greece.
lawyer and mom September 28, 2011 at 01:26 PM
Why don't we blame Cuomo? I voted against him. Doesn't he realize that by punishing the school district he punishes the innocent taxpayers who live here? And why aren't Fitzpateick and Flanafan crying foul? If the district hadn't missed the fing deadline the state would have paid so he can't use a mistake to now save money that the state would have been forced to pay anyway. O can't stand this idiot governor. Bring on the Republicsns.
Candyee September 28, 2011 at 02:53 PM
Marion , are speaking of the name Randy Andy ? A disgusting name?? Really ??Was not meant to be disgusting " .. Listen , I agree with Penny .. Cuomo is punishng us taxpayers by punishing the school district ,,His father did the same when he was guv in the 80's .. I truly believe they dislike us here on Long Island ..We are innocent as Penny states and we are paying for crimes of others,, The are many here within the town who are struggling ,have lost jobs, etc,,We are NOT ALL rich! I can barely make my bills.. I know of others in area who are in same shoes..So I AM walking that mile .. We are on a fixed income .. Just the taxes alone are outrageous .. Now LIPA is raising rates... Whats next?? Marion , may be you are independtly wealthy , have not a money problem in the world, but I am not ,,, Like you said ' walk a mile in my shoes" We work hard ...I really love my home , but will eventually will have to sell and leave .... I grew up in Nassau co...I loved LI ,, a wonderful ,magical place ... I mourn the place I grew up in ,,,
Marion Knott September 28, 2011 at 04:39 PM
Camille when you use the word "Randy" you are implying the Mr. Cuomo "sleeps around" or something like that! He is in a relationship with the TV cook and that's not to my liking. His wife left him and maybe he's afraid of marriage. It's a different world out there than the one I was used to. I remember before I became a teacher, I worked in child welfare. The girls who had out of wedlock babies may as well have worn a scarlet letter, A!" Today, it appalls me to watch TV, hear the bad language and teenagers and girls just hop into bed on the first date. But, this is today. Thank God my kids are married and are loving parents. I am not indepenently wealthy but I am comfortable, at this point. I am eighty one and we have been through a lot. During my child bearing years, I had many illnesses and so did my husband. But thank God, we survived that. The worst was when we finally retired and within the year had to face the death of Skye, who was almost two when she died and seven months old when she was diagnosed. So, we left our condo here and moved to be with her for over a year. So, that is what bothers me most. The health of my children and grandchildren, not their wealth. I volunteer in an inner city school where I work with kids who are in shelters or whose parents are not well off. Maybe some are illegal, but that's not my worry. These kids have brought so much joy in my life.
Marion Knott September 28, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Camille I have to continue since the Patch so eloquently thought it was too long! I love their comments. Your comments are not hateful like some have been. If Cuomo had forgiven those districts that made the mistakes, all of the taxpayers in New York would have to suffer the consequences. Imagine what some of the Patchers would have said then! I pray that your troubles will go away and you stay in good health, hon.
Fred Stewart September 28, 2011 at 04:55 PM
if you think today's fiscal problems are the result of the teachers union, you are sorely misinformed... teachers ARE the middle class...along with firefighters, police, truckers et cetera...also, the NYS teachers pension system is solvent....teachers didn't bundle bad mortgages and sell them knowing they were bad...unscrupulous, under-regulated financial institutions did...unions built this country after WWII...deregulation of financial markets destroyed this country... today's fiscal woes are the result of REPULICAN administrations raising the national debt... Nixon was the last republican to not increase the debt. Dubya raised the debt 7.1 % during his first term, and 20% during his second term...reagan raised it over 20% over 2 terms...carter and clinton LOWERED the debt...clinton had a balanced budget...w/no republican 'mandate'... i know it's ez to talk trash, but the numbers speak for themselves...everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.
Candyee September 28, 2011 at 04:59 PM
Marion!! I did not mean he sleeps around !Not at all..A misunderstanding .. Thank you for your prayers,,, I wish the same for you... We try to keep our heads abovewater,.. I babysit for my youngest son and wife daughter, so they can work .. Full time .. They have another on the way and I will babysit for that grandchild also.. I will have 5 grandchildren by April ,all the lights of my life.. So tough out there for all of them .. I fear for what it will be 20 yrs from now,,,
Fred Stewart September 28, 2011 at 05:02 PM
Yah...you should've elected the Republican candidate for governor... (how soon they forget)...paladino was the best the right had to offer... a little education goes a long way, and I'm not talking public education... adults need to read history so they don't sound extremely uninformed in public forums. ps, the idiot governor just gave you a 2% tax cap... you should be praising him!
Marion Knott September 28, 2011 at 06:17 PM
You seem like a person I would like! I stayed home with the five chlldren and would do it all over again. One salary but we managed. The women that went to work then, usually worked for the frills in their lives but today's women work just to pay the mortgage. The banks were so generous and sneaky, offering mortgages that were so high. You see all the McMansions in St. James. I love my grandchildren just like you do. I mourn the one I lost. God give you the strength to help your son.
Marion Knott September 28, 2011 at 06:18 PM
Fred, I'm with you, mostly! You have unleashed the anger of many of the Patchers. I look for the day when I can choose a candidate for what he stands for, not his party.
Argile September 28, 2011 at 06:58 PM
Sorry Fred but you're going off on a tangent. Long Island's property taxes have nothing to do with who was president. It has to do with UNIONS. 75% of my property tax bill of the $11,000 is all school and police taxes. Sorry but facts are facts.
Candyee September 28, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Marion ,,, I did work. when all kids went to school .....also owned my own business which, thanks to LI economy,I could not keep up with paying rent , LIPA, ins, gas ,employees.. Closed the doors in Feb 2009 ... My children all Smithtown grads, 88 , 92 and 98 ......I think is unfair thay those of us , who no longer have childfre in school , pay what we do!! Most of the money does NOT go to the children anyway!! I paid my dues, give me a break ... As what was stated ,75% of our taxes goes to schools... BTW , I do not vote party ,,I am a Independent .. I do not follow party lines ,, I feel they are all "crooks" so , I vote for what I consider is the "lesser of the evil" ,,,.. Andrew Cuomo has to realize he is huriting the people who pay taxes and HIS salary ..NOT the ones who were so incompetent as not to file papers on time ...
Marion Knott September 28, 2011 at 10:22 PM
I went back after the kids were old enough. Mario Cuomo put the 2% limit in which will help the property tax. When your children and mine were in school there were the "old" people who didn't have kids in our school system but they paid taxes for my kids and yours. My kids are older than your kids and they graduated more than thirty years ago so I had no problem paying taxes when they left. I am retired and I have no problem with paying for kids. They are our future. I hope that the politicians are not all crooks. We recently got absentee ballots so we could vote "yes" on the bus referendum. None of my Smithtown grandchildren were affected but other kids were. The money does go to the children. Where was the thinking when the bond issue was passed where every school got expanded when it wasn't needed. That should have been a resounding "no" vote. Now they are thinking of closing schools again. We went through that years ago, then they sold some schools and then they re opened Mills Pond. So the wise thinking isn't always there. Mr. C. was thinking of you when he did the 2% cap.
Candyee September 28, 2011 at 11:20 PM
BUT , the taxes were much less,back then ,,Even then ,I felt the same way I do now..No children in school , reducded taxes... I speak to seniors ( my mom is 87) all the time..Most are scraping by ... Wonder why they and the young people are leaving?? .. I agreed with the bus revote, to keep the children safe.. There is a pie showing how much goes to the children,,,, sad it is so little... My youngest son got caught up in the school closings back in the 90's.. for same reason as now.,declining enrollment...The median age is getting older and older,,here in Smithtown ..Not many kids in my neighborhood... .. why would schools with so little children in it stay open/?? LI is on the brink of diaster...people turn a blind eye.. Need to face it, It will be only rich and poor ..middle class , will be gone
Candyee September 28, 2011 at 11:24 PM
Marion, thanks for the friendly debate .. Must sign off ...have a good night
Marion Knott September 28, 2011 at 11:46 PM
I'm 81 but don't qualify for the tax reduction, which, thank God is ok with me. My neighbr did qualify. Connie said it was cut right in half. Have them check it out. I,too, enjoy the friendly debate. You have concerns but you are not mean spirited. I used to teach the Title kids at Dogwood Elementary until I retired. That's why I love being here in a school where I can volunteer and help all the kids. Love, Marion
Fred Stewart October 04, 2011 at 04:54 PM
not tangent...responding to the comment above, which is blaming the teachers union for putting the middle class under...sorry the facts don't suit you, but as you said, facts are facts.

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