Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Central Islip) announced that he has reintroduced legislation to allow the Central Islip Union Free School District (UFSD) to recover nearly $42 million in state aid. The funding was associated with previous capital improvement projects and was denied by the New York State Department of Education (NYSDOE) due to a clerical oversight on the part of the school district (A.9043).
“Central Islip is a high-need school district and its buildings are in dire need of repair,” said Assemblyman Ramos. “Our students are being unfairly punished by being forced to learn in sub-par conditions because of a simple human error. One of my top priorities this year is making sure that this $42 million is restored to the Central Islip UFSD.”
In 2000, the Central Islip UFSD undertook several capital improvement projects with the help of the state Department of Education in an effort to expand classrooms and make additions and alterations to school buildings. In June 2006, the school district was to submit the final building cost reports for the projects. Due to office transitions during this time the reports were mistakenly overlooked and not filed. When this oversight was discovered and the reports were filed, the state Education Department denied the reimbursement for costs and demanded that the school district repay any money already received for the projects.
“The state of the Central Islip UFSD schools is unacceptable,” Assemblyman Ramos said. “Besides classrooms that are overflowing with students – some with more than 40 in a room – the school’s structures are out-of-date, unsafe and hazardous to the students, teachers and administrators who use them every day. In order for our students to receive the quality education that they deserve, our school’s structures must be updated, expanded and repaired so that they are safe and reliable.”
Ramos’ legislation would direct the NYSDOE to consider the reports as filed on time, recognizing that a simple human error should not keep the much-needed money from the students of the Central Islip USFD.