Charter School Moving Ahead with Expansion Plans Despite Rejection of Tax-Incentives

June 19, 2013 Updated Jun 19, 2013 at 8:59 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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June 19, 2013 Updated Jun 19, 2013 at 8:59 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) A spokesperson for the South Buffalo Charter School says expansion plans will go forward despite having a one-million dollar tax-credit package denied by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA).

South Buffalo Charter School is looking to build a new $20-million dollar elementary school on the site of a brownfield at 154 South Ogden Street in Buffalo.

In order to qualify for tax credits under the State's Brownfield Cleanup Program, the school formed a for-profit limited liability company (154 South Ogden Street, LLC), and they were looking for $150,000 in mortgage tax and $914,000 in sales tax savings from the ECIDA.

Opposition to the tax-breaks seemed to focus on issues dealing with charter schools and their effect on public school budgets, and concerns about what would become of the building that the charter school currently operates on South Park Avenue.

The new 100,000 square foot school will include a state-of-the-art library, full service cafeteria, and have more classroom space when it opens in August 2014.

Established in 2000, the South Buffalo Charter School is operating at full capacity with 670 students at its current location inside the old Buffalo Public School 29.

The expansion will allow the school to enroll an additional 280 students.

Brownfield cleanup has already begun on the 27-acres of land where the school will be built.

According to information posted on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website, the land was a former industrial dump site and includes volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and heavy metals to depths of 17-feet below the surface.

School officials say it is hoped that the brownfield cleanup will be complete by the end of summer.