Dated Changed in Special Board of Education Election
By Dan Hust
LAKE HUNTINGTON August 7, 2007 New Sullivan West Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Hilton thought he had the dilemma licked.
The board had scheduled a special election for September 18 to fill the two vacancies left by Arthur Norden and Jennifer Mann.
But that’s Primary Election Day in New York State, and two of the district’s three polling places will be in use.
Plus, “that will tie up all the voting machines in the county that day,” he told the board during its regular meeting Thursday in Lake Huntington.
And the machines, per state law, will be impounded until results are certified by the end of the month.
So someone suggested the district use paper ballots, but SW’s policy prohibits it that is, unless the board authorizes a waiver by majority vote.
Hilton was ready to recommend this to the board, but on Thursday he found out the district’s elections personnel would be working for the county and the state on Primary Day.
“So now we’re really high and dry,” he sighed.
That left three options, he said: 1. do paper balloting at one polling location; 2. delay the vote a week to do paper balloting at all three original polling locations; or 3. delay the vote until October so as to utilize voting machines.
Board members were against one polling place, while District Clerk Peg Luty favored using machines over paper, so everyone settled on option #3.
Therefore, the election to fill two board seats will occur on Tuesday, October 2 from noon-9 p.m. at the Delaware Youth Center in Callicoon, the Tusten-Cochecton library branch in Narrowsburg and the Jeffersonville Elementary School.
Candidates’ petitions are due by September 4 at 5 p.m., and voter registration will be held on September 26 from 4-8 p.m.
The board will still meet on September 20 at 7 p.m. at the high school, but it has also set an earlier meeting for August 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the high school.
In other board business
Middle School Principal Rod McLaughlin proposed a Spanish Club that evening.
“It would be a social club primarily,” he said, meeting twice a month. Open to SW students in grades 7-12 who are taking Spanish classes, it would not replace the Spanish Honors Society, though that organization’s future is uncertain with the resignation of Advisor Frances Mege.
McLaughlin said the hope is to “encourage them to continue pursuing foreign languages beyond the state’s minimum requirements.”
“I applaud this effort,” replied Dr. Hilton, “… and wish your students very well.”
Elsewhere in the meeting, the superintendent was happy to announce that he plans to pass a new intermunicipal agreement by Jeffersonville Mayor Ed Justus and Town of Callicoon Supervisor Gregg Semenetz regarding the town and village’s joint youth program.
Open to all SW students, the program has traditionally been funded in part by the district, which still owes $2,500 from last year.
“This will no longer require an annual payment of $2,500 by the district,” explained Hilton, and costs will be capped at $1,500.
In exchange, the program can utilize school facilities at no charge. (Previously, there was a charge.)
Hilton will present the board the signed agreement for its own approval at the next meeting and promised to follow up on the owed amount still remaining.
Speaking of finances, the board is eagerly anticipating a report from Treasurer Lorraine Poston on how much surplus the district actually has.
NYS Governor Eliot Spitzer has authorized public schools to increase the amount of their unreserved, undesignated fund balance (surplus) from 2 percent to 3 percent this coming year, and then up to 4 percent in subsequent years.
Once it is known how much of that surplus the district anticipates plugging into various reserve funds and other needs, board members Richard Tegnander and Noel van Swol sometimes polar opposites stated their intention to advocate for a return of excess funds to taxpayers.