The State Legislature has approved a law allowing the Buffalo School Board to lease a building for more than five years.
The legislation, which is expected to be signed by Gov. Cuomo, was requested by the School Board after North District Member Oscar Smukler offered to lease a former school he now owns.
Smukler and his business partners have offered a 10-year lease on the former School 42 building. Purchased for $63,875 in 1987, the building would require $7 million in renovations, officials estimate.
Current state law prohibits schools outside New York City from leasing a privately owned building for more than five years. The new law would only affect Buffalo and would not impose a new limit on such leases.
In addition to the School 42 proposal, school officials also have been asked to consider a leasing proposition by private developers. The developers would build schools that the city could lease for 20 or more years.
The district rents 185 classrooms and is searching for another 25 for the upcoming school year.
A spokesman for Sen. Dale Volker, R-Depew, who sponsored the legislation, said he was unaware of how the School Board might use the new legislation.
"In the first place, Dale doesn't even have Buffalo in his district," said spokesman Ted Hallman. "But in recognition of the fact that he is the only majority member in the area, he is often asked to" sponsor legislation at the request of local officials.
The bill's chief sponsor in the Assembly, Deputy Speaker Arthur O. Eve, could not reached to comment.
Meanwhile, the Senate approved the formation of the Exempt Volunteer Firefighter's Benevolent Association of the Lake Erie Beach Volunteer Fire Company. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. William Stachowski, D-Buffalo, now goes to the Assembly.
It is one of hundreds of bills that legislators are attempting to push through before the recess. Legislative leaders hope for a weekend adjournment. They may return here after the November elections. But that agenda will be extremely limited, legislators say.