Rome City School District get last-minute aid

By Joleen Ferris

(WKTV) - State Sen. Joseph Griffo and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi delivered a combined $400,000 in last-minute aid to the financially strapped Rome City School District on Monday.

The money will help the district bring back six laid-off teachers.

"There will be two additional elementary teachers back in their classrooms, additional phys ed, additional music, an additional science and an additional English teacher," says Superintendent Jeffrey Simons.

The money isn't totally without strings attached. The lawmakers delivered the cash after receiving assurances from the district that they'd submit to an immediate review and full audit of their books by the State Comptroller's Office.  Audits are routine and performed at districts throughout the state.  Reviews are more in-depth.

"The review is something that we asked for and the superintendent agreed to, because that extra set of eyes from the outside coming in could actually give them an opportunity to make an assessment and make any recommendations," says Griffo.

Simons welcomes the oversight from Albany.

"We're looking toward a very difficult fiscal scenario both for next year and the following year, so any recommendations that will come from the comptroller's office are certainly welcomed by the district," he said.

The whole process should take about nine months.

Rome's second budget vote is Tuesday after voters defeated the first proposed budget. The superintendent says if the budget passes, 46 laid-off teachers would be put back in the classroom.  If the budget is defeated again, the district would operate under a contingency budget.

Simons says that would mean cutting $800,000 from the budget, including some programs.  Either way, six teacher jobs would be restored as a result of the $400,000 in state money secured by Griffo and Brindisi.


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