Albany, NY…The Senate last week passed Senator Jen Metzger’s bill (S7370) forgiving the Monticello Central School District for $1.9 million in penalties for the late filing of capital reports many years ago. The bill, which also passed the Assembly, retroactively validates Monticello’s reports as being timely filed. The State Legislature passed this same bill last year, along with another bill sponsored by Metzger and Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (AD-100) to forgive building aid penalties for the Roscoe School District. The Governor signed the Roscoe bill last year but vetoed the Monticello bill.
The Monticello School District received a partial amnesty back in 2012, but the remaining $1.9 million penalty is onerous and excessive, according to the Senator. Noting that over 70 percent of Monticello students qualify for free and reduced lunch, Senator Metzger said, "this is a district that cannot afford to give up a single dollar in penalties.”
“I was pleased that the Governor signed the bill last year for the Roscoe School District, but it is vital that he does the same for Monticello, especially given the pandemic and economic downturn," said Senator Metzger (SD-42). "I strongly urge the Governor to sign this bill into law, and bring needed relief to overburdened taxpayers and much-needed resources to the district's children and teachers.”
Monticello has a high-needs population in a rural setting. It already faces the heavy burdens of limited state aid and tax revenues, lower enrollment, and a diminished tax base. Senator Metzger’s bill argues that the district's children do not deserve to have a clerical error negatively impact their educational programming.
“Such an arbitrary, disproportionate penalty would have been unfathomable for our students and taxpayers alike, particularly in this current financial climate,” Monticello Board of Education President Lori Orestano-James said. "We are exceedingly grateful for Senator Metzger’s tireless advocacy on this matter, and we thank her, as well as Assemblywoman Gunther and all of their colleagues, for their unwavering support of education.”
Jen Metzger represents the 42nd Senate District, which includes all of Sullivan County and parts of Delaware, Orange, and Ulster Counties. Senator Metzger serves as Chair of the Agriculture Committee and sits on the Environmental Conservation, Education, Health, Energy and Telecommunications, Local Government, Women’s Issues, Domestic Animal Welfare, and Legislative Commission on Rural Resources Committees.