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Panama Fined $4.9M By State Ed Over Paperwork Error

April 12, 2013

PANAMA — A paperwork error may end up costing the Panama Central School district nearly $5 million over the next 10 year....

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May-07-13 11:22 AM

The headline is misleading. The amount imposed by the state is not a fine, but the amount of aid paid the district for the period that the final cost reports are overdue. The Division of Budget has told the State Education Department to take a hard line in all matters where districts could lose aid.

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Apr-14-13 10:06 AM

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Apr-13-13 11:38 AM

I don't know the circumstances, but a 5 million dollar fine for a small school district like that only hurts the children. It sounds ridiculous to me!!!

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Apr-13-13 11:03 AM

Justice for all. What I see from the minutes is that discussions took place giving information as the district knew it. It appears they weren't even aware the state was going to levy a five mill fine until late in the game. Don't blame the current people trying to fix someone else's blunder. SED and our govt in general appear to be the culprit. If my electric bill is late, I am notified right away. Not ten years later. Common sense lacking from our govt.

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Apr-13-13 6:24 AM

Ah, nothing ever changes in the corrupt Panama Central School District. I sold my property and got out two years ago. I know exactly who served as superintendent, and I also remember the clowns that served on the Board of Education. I don't quite understand the surprise. This should have been expected. You folks in Panama might want to rethink consolidating the schools!

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Apr-12-13 10:35 PM

Doesn't sound like an amnesty offer to me! They filed on the advice of the State under amnesty and got burned with an amazing fine. What I still don't get is why the State didn't fine the school in year one? Which would have been a lot smaller fine. Could it be possible the State held off to increase the fine? I mean 10 years and then oops you owe 5 mill instead of 500k. That's what I conclude from the minutes anyway.

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Apr-12-13 10:26 PM

From the minutes,which describe the possible penalty.Fiscal Advisors discovered the State has Panama Central School listed as not filing the 2000 building project final cost reports. Section 31 of Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2012 provides for amnesty for late filed final cost reports. Final cost reports must be received by December 31, 2012, to qualify for the amnesty provision. Under the amnesty provision, rather than lose all aid associated with projects, a late filing penalty will be assessed. The penalty could be equal to the calculated annual aid payment multiplied by the number of years the final cost report was late. Fiscal Advisors is working on the reports so the District can file before the December 31st deadline.

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Apr-12-13 9:46 PM

Dark , I get that you and others want to keep blinders on, but that’s the problem. It’s time to come out of the dark and shine light on what’s really happening at PCS and the community. This is not the first, nor the last I’m afraid, time that the administration and BOE (and others) have managed to not take responsibilities for actions, or non-actions, and therefore we, and our kids, are the ones paying the price (nice lessons we are teaching the kiddies). We can’t even get the BOE members to attend their own meetings – according to the last 11 mtg. min. there was only 1 meeting where all 7 members were in attendance. I could give lots of specifics, but the point is lost since you and others refuse to look honestly at the situation. NOTHING EVER GETS FIXED UNTIL YOU FIRST ACKNOWLEDGE THAT IT’S BROKE, OR AT LEAST SOMETHING THAT COULD BE BETTER. Maybe when you are paying $500,000 a year to the state for the next 10 yrs, when others have moved away, you’ll open your eyes.

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Apr-12-13 8:50 PM

Justice for all this is a crazy fine for a piece of paper...yes mistakes by former administration but do not blame the people still working hard each day for the kids of the district

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Apr-12-13 8:41 PM

Harley – did you read any of the mins? 11/19mtg Superintendent informed BOE that “Fiscal Advisors” brought to the District’s attention they had discovered “an issue” w/some paperwork for project (prior to current Sup and BusAdv) Cur Sup had reached out to previous Sup & BusAdv to "fill in blanks". 12/7mtg they had til Dec 31 to file and get amnesty, 1/7mtg Sup and BusAdv hope to meet w/Rep of Gov on 1/15, 1/28mtg haven’t heard anything from Albany, 2/11mtg no news from Albany, BOCES Sup hopes to meet w/SED, 3/4mtg Sup & BusAdv hope to be in Albany 3/12&13 to meet w/Gov Reps & SED, 3/18mtg Albany mtg changed then replaced w/phone call on 3/7, Dist waiting, 4/8mtg Sup gave info to the BOE that Young’s Office called 3/25 w/ the information from Albany (amount of penalty in article) + they had filed in Dec – Ya right I really would have caught on that we were going to have to cough up 4.9 MILLION $$$$$$ from those minutes.

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Apr-12-13 8:28 PM

This fine is beyond stupid. PUNISHING the future ten years of kids and parents that had nothing to do with this? How dare this state do this? How stupid are we all for the lunacy that we elect to govern us? I cannot even quantify in my head how this is allowed to stand? We all need to stay as far away from any any state funding for anything. It is obvious there is no such thing as a free lunch. Unfortunately administrators and board members are so easily lured into the thought of free money. They want us to believe the piper will never come calling. Well, looks like the piper is here and will literally march away with future of Panama's kids.

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Apr-12-13 6:45 PM

Another fine mess created by this school district. They can't get anything right. Wish I could remember who told me it was a good school district to move into for my kids so I could thank them (not)

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Apr-12-13 4:16 PM

To bobbojr who complained it should have been explained to the tax payers.....I looked in school board minutes from december on the school website where the topic has been openly discussed and noted in minutes every month to now. You may have to attend a meeting or look in the minutes to know what it is being discussed.

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Apr-12-13 4:11 PM

I agree with the others. This article has no real information. 5 mil fine. What was the whole building project cost? Seems the fine is bigger than most projects. What was the paperwork error? The State has been paying aid on these projects for almost 10 years. Somebody had some paperwork. This all just seems strange.

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Apr-12-13 3:34 PM

It's time to take up arms. 7 shots at a time. Wonder how they arrived at 7 shots not 6 or 8. How did they arrive at 5mil. You keep voting this crap in. Cuomo and friends

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Apr-12-13 12:28 PM

1) The “watch dogs” tried to bring attention to the situation, but a small yet powerful and influential group of misguided individuals all but ran them out of town. 2) The Superintendent, at the time, (who is now enjoying Retirement with great benefits courtesy of the BOE) was totally backed by same influential group. 3) They (same group) put uninformed individuals on the board that kept their heads buried in the sand and that’s why they were put there, to not question. 4) If you look back to the letters to the editor at that time period you would find that there was a lot of dissention in the community, but the more organized fraction (same group)of the community chose to put their trust in individuals for no other reason than they were their friends (or so they thought). Nepotism at its finest! 5) The fact that this has been kept from the community since November, and that the article contains no information, only shows that the “leadership” at PCS is still sorely lacking.

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Apr-12-13 10:27 AM

This story needs a LOT more depth. Where were the watchdogs several years ago? I'd like to see a complete history of this fiasco. Something like this affects not just this small community, but the entire region. That's a HUGE fine. Was there criminality involved? The people deserve to know EVERYTHING.

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Apr-12-13 10:14 AM

Tell NYS to stick it.

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Apr-12-13 9:43 AM

Who was the superintendent of schools during this period? Why does not the writer of the article give that info? If he still is superintendent he should be fired. The writer of the article needs to go more into detail as to why their is a penalty and why it is so high.

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Apr-12-13 9:34 AM

You have got to be kidding me!! Heads do need to roll for this - if the ones responsible are not longer there - then thier pensions need to be taken away!! So now the rest of the district has to pay for yet another screw up-and the kids suffer - Nice! a big thank you to the PCS staff and should be very proud of yourselves

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Apr-12-13 9:28 AM

Nys needs money and they want to control, control, control everything via threats of punishment and fines. If you don't do exactly what we say you will be punished/fined. They care less about kids, teachers, jobs, nothing but money and control!!!!

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Apr-12-13 8:56 AM

Remarkable… so those “crazy people” that tried to warn the community of PCS that these building projects were maybe a bad idea and that the people in charge of implementing them didn’t know what they were doing… were right. Too bad that the entire community, and our children will have to pay for the mismanagement of the mess while those responsible will get off and not even have to help pay. Not sure who is more messed up – the school district or the state for thinking they can squeeze blood from a turnip! I also agree with 987… where is the accountability?

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Apr-12-13 8:51 AM

I can see a fine for a paperwork error, but 5 million?

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Apr-12-13 8:51 AM

dad gum gubment

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Apr-12-13 8:40 AM

It's really amazing that the state would levy a fine like this on a school district, even more amazing that the state will pay the fine for the district.

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