BINGHAMTON, NY – (WIVT/WBGH) Help could be on the way for efforts to build a new Roosevelt Elementary in Binghamton.

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and State Senator Lea Webb sponsored bills that passed their respective chambers that would allow the Binghamton City School District to access twice the normal limit in school aid for the cost of tearing down and rebuilding Theodore Roosevelt on the city’s Northside.

The school, which was built in 1970, needs significant upgrades but because of unexposed asbestos, renovations would be extremely costly. Binghamton has estimated the total cost to rebuild would be $53 million and it is seeking $28 million in state aid over the next 4 years, double the amount typically allocated.

Lupardo and Webb point out that larger school districts in New York are already permitted to access two times their multi-year allowance for capital projects. Otherwise, Binghamton says the rebuild would need to drag out over a longer period, seriously disrupting student education.

According to the lawmakers, Roosevelt serves the most economically challenged population in the city, with 84% of the children qualifying for SNAP benefits. The neighborhood has also been designated as a food and childcare desert with limited access to public transportation.

In addition, Roosevelt has been designated as a Failing School due to having asbestos throughout 85% of the building. And the size of its classrooms does not meet minimum standards for the number of students.

A spokesperson for the Governor would not comment on whether Hochul plans to sign the legislation, committing only to reviewing it.