District Reaches Compromise on Schools Project

- Last-minute changes have been made to legislation to approve phase-two funding for the Rochester schools modernization project.

Negotiations went on late into the evening last night, but in the end, there was compromise.

Mayor Lovely Warren raised concerns yesterday that there were not enough safeguards in the legislation that provides $435 million for phase two of the project. She pointed to problems with phase one that included cost overruns and an FBI investigation into possible wrongdoing.

After working with the local delegation of state lawmakers, the mayor and school district officials reached agreement that phase two needs to include more oversight provisions that protect everyone involved, especially taxpayers.

"We want it to be done right," Warren said. "We have an opportunity to make sure that it's done to the best of our ability, and we want the right people at the table to have the taxpayers' best interests at heart."

Rochester City School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas said he never doubted the project would move forward.

"Anytime that you have a big project like this, you have some concerns because of what it means to our students and to our families," he said. "However, I was certain that because this project means so much to our students, our families, and to this community, that they were going to find a way to get this through, and they did."

Lawmakers will vote on the revised legislation before the end of the session this week. Also today, Vargas unveiled the new list of schools that are having work done under phase two.

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