BEEKMANTOWN-A revote was called for by the state education commissioner, sending the Beekmantown Central School Board into a flurry scheduling a special board meeting and trying unsuccessfully to get word back from the commissioner's office.
The election is scheduled for Thursday, June 30, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the middle-school gym, and will put the school budget and bus purchases back before the public for voting.
The revote was called for after one of three voting machines used was not updated for the election, and displayed last year's figures to voters.
According to school Superintendent Scott Amo, an e-mail notice from the commissioner was sent Friday, June 17, with a timestamp of 3:24 p.m., after staff had left for the weekend. The e-mail was first noticed by the board attorney, who alerted Amo Saturday.
This left the board with only eight working days until election day, making it difficult to satisfy state requirements, said Amo.
Amo spent much of Monday trying all he could think of to get in touch with the commissioner's office-fax, telephone and e-mail-to no avail. The commissioner's office is changing over to a new head, and that may be making communication more difficult and increasing confusion, said Amo.
The board is required to notify the public 10 days before an election takes place, which forced them to convene Monday so they could approve action on the matter. They'll post notice in 20 public places around the district to satisfy that requirement, said board Clerk Joanne Menard.
A public hearing on the election is also required at least seven days before the election, and the board approved a meeting for Thursday, June 23 at 6:15 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
Amo said following board action, they'll use every means of communication possible to notify the public of the rapidly-approaching election.
Steve Trombley, president of school board said that though "this is not the norm by any means," the board did the right thing by putting the decision in the commissioner hands. Leonard King, a school board member said, "It's a tough choice, but to be fair to the public, yes it's the right choice."
Trombley said mistakes happen, and the process to fix that mistake is under way, but the tight deadline and confusion over requirements with no word back from the are worrisome, "hopefully we have started our process today."
To approve the special election, the board needed a quorum of at least five, said Trombley, but the entire board made it out for the meeting.
The budget submitted for the election is $38,721,107, with another proposition for four school buses at a cost of $424,811.66.
A meeting was scheduled for the night of the vote, so if the budget passes, the board can approve it and resume normal business, and if it fails, decide what to do next. Options would include resubmitting the budget for another vote, altering the budget and submitting it, or falling back on the contingency budget, with tiny percentage increase over the last approved budget.
Unregistered voters will be able to register for the election until June 27. Absentee ballots will be automatically mailed to registered disabled voters who can't make it in for election day, but anyone who applied for an absentee ballot for the now void election will need to re-apply.