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Board of Ed Rejects Petitions For Bus Referendum Re-Vote

But Superintendent Edward Ehmann said with two new board members and community outcries, the end of the issue isn't near.

The Board of Education on Monday voted to reject community petitions to hold a new vote on a controversial transportation referendum limiting bus service in the district.

Since the , increasing the distances for children to get bus service to school, there has been community outcries over the measure, specifically at the a  and board meetings. Many cite the confusing wording of the referendum, and the safety risks children walking in high-traffic areas with no sidewalks, as reason for a re-vote.

At the elementary level the distance will be one-half mile limit, secondary schools will have a one-and-a-half mile limit, and private and parochial schools will have a 15-mile limit.

But four board members – current President Robert Rossi, Vice President Joseph Saggese, Theresa Knox and Louis Liguori – voted to reject the petitions; board members Scott Martella and Gladys Waldron voted to accept the petitions; Neil Carlin abstained.

Superintendent Edward Ehmann said the issue isn't over yet.

“I do not think that it’s put to rest,” he said. “I think that the community is still going to request that people have a second chance to voice their opinion on this matter, so that remains to be seen."

While the board voted to reject the petitions for a re-vote, Ehmann said with the introduction of two new board members – and the dynamic of the board could change and the potential for a new referendum or views on the transportation issue is a possibility.

Plourde and McEnroy will first take their seats on the board at the July 12 board meeting.

The superintendent also said that a new referendum could be introduced by the board.

“The Board of Ed rejecting this group of petitions doesn’t preclude them from doing a motion on their own to establish another referendum,” he said. “Now it cannot be the same referendum, the language has to be different.”

stjamesBri June 24, 2011 at 04:06 PM
No MotherHubbard, to US the discussion about busing preceded the state aid mistake. To our BoE and our superintendent the discussions were one in the same. They were the ones covering up the state aid mistake for months until it finally came out. Don't you recall Ehmann's directive to "keep this quiet otherwise we will have a public relations nightmare"? The cost saving on busing were a response to the lost funds from the state, plain and simple. We just found out about them at different times. And to term this referendum legitimate it a stretch. Nothing was sent out about it, no documentation, they didn't even research its impacts. Ehmann gave the PTAs false information. The wording was written by a lawyer who is now blaming "state legalese" for his inability to write a clear and concise description. Or was that done intentionally?? Everything sure points to that. So your snarky remark about setting aside a "legitimate" election when we don't like the outcome couldn't be more wrong. I would have thought that someone with the name "MotherHubbard" would care about the safety of children not about money, but I guess not.
MotherHubbard June 24, 2011 at 04:37 PM
Can you tell me in what forum Ehmann's gave the directive to keep this quiet otherwise we will have a public relations nightmare?" The initial discussions regarding reducing busing go back to 2009. When did the district learn of the state aid mess? Sorry you found my comment snarky.
stjamesBri June 24, 2011 at 06:47 PM
As quoted by a source of the Smithtown News he mentioned it during a meeting with his admin staff and the districts principles. And I agree, the entire busing discussion does go back several years, however, the deisre to pass it by the BoE and the administration was ramped up this year like never before. Just look how the entire thing was handled from beginning to the end (the vote). Sneaky quiet and incompetence. Safety of the kids to recoup lost state aid because someone in the admin office can't read a calendar.
Carla June 27, 2011 at 08:43 PM
I'm trying to find out if Gov. Cuomo signed the milti-million bailout bill for the administrative errors of Smithtown Schools? If yes, we don't need to save the $ for busing. If not, why not? I also haven't heard anything about the independent investigation. Tuesday, June 28 at 8 p.m. is the last BOE meeting of the school year. We need to come and demand answers.
Catholic Mom July 08, 2011 at 12:42 PM
NOTE: They changed the date of the BoE meeting to 7/13. Check district website. Hard to hit a moving target..

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