meghan heckman, 2019 election

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Jun 19, 2019 9:55 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Eastport-South Manor's Budget Passes In Re-Vote

Paid election workers counted the nearly 1,700 votes by hand Tuesday night. ANISAH ABDULLAH
Jun 21, 2019 11:02 AM

The Eastport-South Manor School District’s $96.6 million budget for next school year was approved by 65 percent of those who voted, in a re-vote on Tuesday.

Polls closed at 9 p.m. at the junior-senior high school, and election workers began tallying the nearly 1,700 votes by hand. District Clerk Sharon Murray announced the final count almost an hour later: 1,108 “yes” votes and 587 “no” votes.

The State Education Department rejected the district’s original vote results from last month because the budget required a supermajority vote—of more than 60 percent—in order to pass, and it received only 54.7 percent. District officials believed that the budget had passed, until the state informed them otherwise on June 5, almost two weeks ago.

This time around, the budget needed only a simple majority vote to be approved.

A separate proposition to fund the addition of armed security guards in the district that was on the original ballot was removed for the re-vote.

The armed guards proposition would have caused the budget to pierce the cap on tax levy increases. In order for a tax cap override to happen, the budget proposition, in addition to the armed guards proposition, both needed over 60 percent of the vote. But district officials believed that even if the measure for armed guards failed—as it did—then a simple majority vote could approve the budget.

The state notified the district earlier this month that it was reviewing the original voting results. Several days later, they determined that the results were rejected and the budget failed.

School Board members immediately scheduled a public hearing for the following week and a re-vote for the week after.

If the budget did not pass the re-vote, the district would have had to carry over this school year's tax levy, which meant $1.5 million less revenue for next school year. Tim Laube, the district's assistant superintendent for business and operations, said he would have had to cut several expenses, including seven teachers and faculty members they planned to hire, equipment purchases and salary raises for administrators under year-to-year contracts.

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