BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – The Binghamton City School District is asking its stakeholders for help in lobbying Governor Hochul to approve state funding for the replacement of Theodore Roosevelt Elementary.

The district sent an appeal to parents and others over email yesterday evening asking them to contact Hochul’s office to advocate for twice the amount typically allowed in the state’s building aid formula.

It even provided a form letter and directions on how to submit it online. (See below)

According to Binghamton Schools, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and State Senator Lea Webb each got their chambers to include the additional funding in their one-house budgets.

After a contentious series of meetings regarding the possible closure of one of Binghamton’s 7 elementary schools, the school board pivoted and decided instead to seek funding to rebuild Roosevelt.

Binghamton is seeking $28 million in state aid over the next 4 years.

The President of the district’s board of education, Brian Whalen says if the state doesn’t act now, it could place a bigger burden on the students and taxpayers in the future.

President of the Binghamton City School District Board of Education Brian Whalen says, “We’re concerned whether this will remain in the budget. We’re hopeful that it will. It makes all the sense in the world to do what we’re doing. It won’t disrupt the education of our children in this building, this plan won’t, versus if you have to do this over a twenty year period.”

The district says the school, which was built in 1970, needs significant upgrades to its roof and masonry, windows, doors, door frames, lighting, mechanical and plumbing as well as upgrades to its gym, library and cafeteria.

The building is full of unexposed asbestos which would make renovations extremely costly.

It says the total cost to rebuild would be $53 million, with the remaining balance supported by taxpayers.

Directions from the school district:

Please go to the Governor’s Contact form:

Fill in your contact information, choose “Education” as the Topic;

Please put Subject include “Support Binghamton City Schools Building Aid in Budget”;

And cut and paste the letter below.

“Dear Governor Hochul:

Senator Lea Webb and Assemblyperson Donna Lupardo have introduced legislation (S.2672A), that was included in both the Senate and Assembly one-house budget plans, to allow the Binghamton City School District to access two-times their multi-year cost allowance within the State’s Building Aid formula. This is a unique and necessary ask, saving the taxpayers significant funds over time. Two times the multi-year cost allowance would allow the district to access the maximum cost allowance plus one additional cycle, resulting in having ~”28,000,000 available to do the rebuild and renovation Theodore Roosevelt over the next 4 years.  The total cost of the project is ~53,000,000, leaving the remaining balance supported by District taxpayers.

To accomplish the same rebuild and renovation using the existing capital aid formula would take 25 years and ~$75,000,000.

This elementary school building serves students on the northside of Binghamton in the most economically distressed part of the city, and in an area that has been identified as the third poorest in New York State. A community that has been designated both a child care and food desert, having limited access to public transportation and services desperately needs this vital resource.

Thank you for your consideration.”