Mayor Warren announces agreement in school modernization plan

Updated: 06/17/2014 6:48 PM
Created: 06/17/2014 1:52 PM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean

There’s an update on plans to modernize the Rochester city school buildings. Monday night, we reported Mayor Lovely Warren wanted changes to Phase Two of the plan. Originally it would have authorized more than $400-million to upgrade another 26 city schools. Mayor Warren believed there wasn't enough oversight of that money under the plan.

Late Monday night, before the midnight deadline, changes were made in Albany. Today Mayor Warren tells us she got just about everything she wanted. She says she’s happy with the bill and wants it passed. “We believe this compromise is good for the people of the City of Rochester but most of all for our children.”

With that, the bill to authorize more than $400-million to modernize two dozen city schools gets the green light. That means School No. 1, built 94 years ago, will be brought into the 21st century.

 Lentory Johnson was here to pick up her grandson. She said, “I think it's long overdue, sitting up in those hot classrooms.”

The changes in the bill include penalties for misusing money, filing false reports on construction work and giving the mayor the authority to approve the contract of the project manager. Warren says the FBI is investigating who was hired to do the work in Phase One of the project. Mayor Warren said, “Especially when it comes down to minority and women owned businesses.”

Berkeley Brean: “So they were fudging the paperwork?”
Mayor Lovely Warren: “Yes. Allegedly. Let me say allegedly.”

City Council President Loretta Scott said, “A number of documents provided listed names for projects and work when (contractors were) asked if they did that work, some said no.”

The mayor and City Council president say the people who did that are no longer working on the project.
The Rochester City School District Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas says the bottom line here is that this helps children in city schools. “They're going to have better schools, better classrooms and classrooms in the school that are equipped for the 21st century.

The bill will be voted on Thursday. It will fund construction at more than two dozen schools.

The schools included in Phase Two are: 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 19, 23, 34, 35, 41, 42, 45, 46, 50, 52, Wilson Foundation Academy, Douglass Campus, East, Edison Campus, Freddie Thomas Campus, Monroe High School and Wilson Commencement Academy. For more information on Phase Two, click here.

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