A sigh of relief for Minerva CSD

Re-vote granted

— A re-vote of the Minerva Central School 2014-15 budget was given the stamp of approval by New York State Education Commissioner John P. King, Jr., late July 7.

The district, which has been operating under a contingency budget since July 1, notified the News Enterprise of the commissioner’s decision by legal notice on July 8.

“We were granted the chance to put the same budget back up,” said Tim Farrell district Superintendent. “We don’t have the ability to change the budget amount, but we do have the ability to change the tax levy amount.”

That change could come as the district received word recently of $50,000 in state aid issued by the office of Sen. Betty Little.

“We are going to build that $50,000 into our revenue amount and adjust the levy, which for us will be about 1.5 percent of the total,” Farrell said.

The approval of a third vote comes from an alleged ballot machine malfunction during the district’s second budget vote held June 17, resulting in a 59 percent approval — slightly less than the 60 percent super-majority needed to implement the proposed budget.

In an unusual turn of events following that vote, the district had a discrepancy with the number of voters signed in to vote and the number of votes that were registered by the voting machine. Subsequently, the district filed an appeal with the Department of Education to hold a third attempt at the vote with a correctly functioning machine.

A Public hearing of the qualified voters in the district is scheduled for July 24, 7 p.m., with a presentation of the proposed budget.

In an effort to have a fair and precise vote, the district has made the decision to use paper ballots versus the machines that reportedly caused the incorrect vote tally previously, Farrell explained.

“At the very least this re-vote will allow us to be confident of the results,” Farrell said. “Regardless of the outcome, this time we will be able to certify the results.”

The repeat vote will take place on Thursday, July 31 from 1 to 8 p.m. at the school.

“The uncertainty continues,” said Farrell. “But at this point it’s a necessary uncertainty.”

Farrell said the District would like thank everyone who helped to bring about this revote, including the community members who also filed Petitions to the Commissioner and the State Education Department.

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