Senate bills would boost OHS funding, rename roadway


State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, announced Tuesday that the New York Senate has approved a pair of bills he sponsored.

Senate Bill 396 corrects a clerical error and will assist the Oneonta City School District by preserving $400,000 in state transportation aid due to the school district, according to a media release.

“This is the first bill I introduced as a state senator and it embodies one of my main priorities — to assist our local schools and municipalities when they are in need,” Oberacker said in the release. “Without this piece of legislation, the Oneonta City School District would be facing a $400,000 hit on their budget that would be devastating for the school, local taxpayers, and most importantly our students.”

Oberacker’s legislation would correct an oversight in the application process for the district's transportation aid for the 2019-2020 school year, when the district did not file its application for transportation aid to the state education department in a timely fashion, the release said.

“The Oneonta City School District has a strong track record when it comes to contractual submissions and required paperwork. This inadvertent oversight involving one item should not lead to an overwhelming penalty that would significantly harm student programming and services,” Oberacker said.

A companion bill has been introduced in the state Assembly by Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield.

Senate Bill 6799 would rename a portion of State Route 51 in the town of Butternuts in honor of Army Specialist Richard Walton Jr., who served during the Vietnam War and was killed in action on Feb. 6, 1970, when a rescue helicopter he was a passenger in crashed. Walton served as a medic and was 19 years old at the time of his death, the release said.

“Every man and woman who wears a United States military uniform sacrifices for our nation and our way of life, some, like Army Specialist Walton, make the ultimate sacrifice. SP-4 Walton served to help others — ‘carrying a needle instead of a gun,’ as he put it. It is my humble honor to help keep his memory alive and ensure that others know what Richard Walton Jr. meant to his hometown of Gilbertsville and his country,” Oberacker said in the release.

The special highway designation was requested by the town of Butternuts.

 Companion legislation introduced by Assemblyman Joseph Angelino, R-Norwich, was also adopted Tuesday and the bill will next be sent to the governor for final approval, according to the release.

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