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Legislation Should Not Be Necessary For Situation That Cuomo Created

It’s one thing for New York state to withhold or cut aid to schools in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every school should have been expecting the state to take action — and, to their credit, most schools in our readership area took pre-emptive action.

But it is another thing entirely not to reimburse districts for transportation aid that has already been spent. The issue is especially acute for rural school districts that relied on bus drivers to deliver meals and packets of school work to students when schools were shut down earlier this year.

What’s worse, Michael Ginestre, Sherman superintendent, and Maureen Donahue, Southwestern superintendent, both told The Post-Journal they believe they were misled by the state. Districts were mandated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make sure meal services and learning programs continued, and districts that received CARES Act money were encouraged not to lay off employees. Now, schools have spent money it turns out they didn’t have to the tune of $220,000 for Pine Valley, $178,000 for Southwestern and $80,000 for Sherman.

Legislation has already been introduced in the state Legislature, and passed in the state Senate, to correct the situation. But, given that the governor asked for and was granted extensive executive powers, legislation should not be necessary. When it comes to what happens in businesses and homes in counties throughout the state, the governor thinks he has unlimited power. That’s why it is unfathomable that the governor needed the legislature when it came time to decide whether or not to reimburse schools for money caused by Cuomo’s own shutdown.

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