The Schenectady school district came tantalizingly close to getting money it had long since given up on receiving from the state.
The city’s legislators sponsored a bill to restore more of the transportation aid withheld from the district in recent years. It passed both houses, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has now vetoed it.
The school district wasn’t expecting the additional money, district spokeswoman Karen Corona said. Officials hadn’t even asked for that money, she added.
She stressed that the district will still get the money it was anticipating.
The state has already agreed to give back $3.8 million that was taken away to punish the district for making a minor clerical mistake. An ad for routine transportation services did not include all of the required legal statements.
State officials did not discover the mistake for years, then declared it could take back all of the transportation aid that the district had received since the ad had run.
After repeated legislation and lobbying, mainly by Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, the state agreed to return $3.8 million. But the state refused to give back the aid from the first year of the mistake.
School officials never asked for that money to be returned, accepting that there was no way to avoid paying that penalty. They simply argued that it was unfair to penalize them for multiple years, since they made the mistake only once. If state officials had noticed the mistake earlier, they could have corrected it at once and not lost any further aid.
The district is going to receive the $3.8 million over the course of three years.
The legislation that was vetoed was sponsored by Farley in the Senate and co-sponsored in the Assembly by assemblymen Phil Steck, D-Colonie, and Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam.