WASTING AWAY

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FYI: The city is failing to cash in on $62 million in federally funded, interest-free bonds authorized by the state to pay for school improvements, according to a report in the Independent Budget Office’s July Newsfax. The Qualified Zone Academy Bond program, created in 1997, offers school districts bond money to renovate buildings and update technology, paying interest to investors by giving them tax credits. Half of the New York State bond money is set aside for New York City, but the administration has failed to act on it. Mayor’s office spokesperson Jordan Barowitz told the Daily News that the bonds were difficult to use and limited in what they can pay for, but the Department of Education already has projects identified, according to the IBO report. The bonds have to be issued within two years of their authorization, and the city has already lost $16.7 million, with another $15 million set to expire at the end of this year. [7/11/03]