Irondequoit school leaders celebrated a settlement over the defunct Medley Center mall project as a surprising victory.

Irondequoit school leaders celebrated a settlement over the defunct Medley Center mall project as a surprising victory.

“To actually recover some money for the years of effort that this community has put into this issue is gratifying,” said John Abbot, Deputy Superintendent of the East Irondequoit school district.

On Tuesday night, the Irondequoit town board approved a $1.4 million settlement with Medley Center developer Bersin Properties.

Part of the settlement, about $500,000, remained conditional on Bersin’s success in a lawsuit against its lending company. But the rest would give the town and the school system each $450,000, to be paid within the next two or three weeks, Abbot said.

“We did not expect, at any point, to see $450,000 in cash coming in from this litigation,” he exclaimed. “That’s nice when you had all this theoretical money floating around out there for years and years and years and now you get a check in two weeks.”

The settlement ended a dispute between the town and Irondequoit schools on one side and Bersin on the other over the termination by the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency of a 2014 arrangement under which Bersin would make payments in lieu of normal taxes. Those payments were never made as the Medley Center project fell through.

And while Bersin was technically on the hook for millions in payments in lieu of taxes, the project’s implosion and auction sale of the Medley Center property left it a company with no assets to pursue.

“The conventional wisdom, I know, around this community was ‘we’re never going to see a dime from them.’” Abbot said. “So, we have effectively managed to get blood out of a stone here. We got some real money.”

Abbot declared the unexpected infusion of $450,000 into the school system a welcome surprise as the district faced potential cutbacks in program or delayed hiring because of an equally unexpected budget crunch.

“This year’s budget had a shortfall in state aid because of the timing of the state budget and our budget that forced us to tighten our belts and to not be able to go forward with all the issues that we wanted to this year,” he said.

Abbot estimated the district’s funding gap at around $300,000, one which the proceeds of the settlement would cancel out, with money to spare. “Now we are able to recoup this money, help keep taxes under control and plug a hole in our budget,” he said.