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Lawmakers amend bill to fund school project

Rochester, N.Y. - Lawmakers have agreed to make changes to legislation authorizing Phase II of the Rochester City School District's Modernization Program. The bill would fund $435-million for this phase of the project. Warren and City Council President Loretta Scott sent a letter Monday asking for the bill to be amended. The amendments were in response to the FBI investigation into the first phase of the modernization project.

A number of documents provided listed names for projects and work when asked the contractors whether or not they did that work, they said no so somebody was not telling the truth about that, said Loretta Scott.

It was never an issue of work and putting people to work, and construction jobs. It was an issue of oversight and holding people accountable, said Mayor Warren. We believe that the changes in to the amendment that was put in the legislation will put forth the sanctions as well as the accountability where it needs to be.

The amendments include: reinstating the Independent Compliance Officer (ICO) as a non-voting member of the Joint Board; providing for a criminal offense should any person submit a false report to the Joint Board; and also, providing the Mayor with the ability to approve the contract of the program manager.

I think this is an excellent compromise, I think this is good for our students, our family, our community, said Rochester City School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas. At the end of the day this project means a lot to the district because well have better schools this will also bring us stability.

Twenty-five schools will be complete by the end of phase two. The entire project involves at least $1.2 billion in taxpayer funds and it could span two decades before it is all complete, 46 schools would be built or reconstructed in that time.

The legislation will now be brought to the floors of the Senate and Assembly for a vote this week.

 
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