Spano: Yonkers schools faced with dire need for repairs, and lack of funds

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The Yonkers Public School District is faced with a dire need for repairs in its buildings, but officials say there's simply not enough money to get the job done.

While students were on summer vacation, a district spokesperson says repairs were made at several schools. As the district removes toxic mold from School 15, News 12 is told that workers repaired Paideia School 24, the middle-high school, and Museum School 25, where work is still underway.

But Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano says those efforts aren't good enough.

"When you have $40 million to spend on a half-a-billion-dollar problem, all you're essentially doing is putting Band-Aids and chewing gum to hold it together," says Spano.

MORE COVERAGE: Yonkers school to remain closed due to mold

Spano says he's been urging legislators in Albany to treat Yonkers Public Schools the same way schools in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse are treated in terms of reimbursement funds. He says those districts get 98 percent reimbursement for their capital needs and get fixes done instantaneously.

Without a permanent solution in place, parents' patience is running thin as they continue to send their children to school every day.

"A lot of these kids are asthmatic and they can't be in this heat in these classrooms," says parent Joann Monsegur. "Some teachers try and get a fan, but that's not good enough and they need to do these repairs for every school. They can't concentrate. It takes away from their education, too."

Spano says absent reimbursement money from the state, the only other option would be to significantly raise taxes.

"It's $600 million to build three new schools, that's $1.2 billion. That would require a tax increase on Yonkers taxpayers that would basically shut this city down," he says.

The president of the Yonkers Federation of Teachers Union says she's meeting with Superintendent Edwin Quezada to discuss the needed repairs.

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