After more than two months of public outcries over bus cuts, the Smithtown Central School District Board of Education voted Tuesday night to give the public a chance to overturn a controversial transportation referendum.
The new vote, set for Sept. 19, was approved by President Gladys Waldron and Vice President Scott Martella, , as well as Theresa Knox, Grace Plourde and Joanne McEnroy.
Board members Louis Liguori and Joseph Saggese were the only two board members to oppose the re-vote.
Martella said although the board has been deliberating over a new public vote following the fallout from the May 17 vote, the board opted to wait until to make the decision.
“It was the wish of the departing members that we do not make a decision until they were on board,” he said after the meeting.
The vote picked up the support of Superintendent Edward Ehmann, who said concerns over the language of the original referendum should be enough to call a new vote.
“It was important for the democratic process to take place and that if the issue is that the resolution in May was not clearly defined and people were not making informed votes we’ll do it again,” he said.
Addressing the original referendum language and advertisement, Martella said the district will make it clear what the public will be voting on.
“The language of this is going to be prominently displayed on our website, it’s going to be included in our [Smithtown] Digest, hopefully all the news outlets circulate the language, so there is no question what a ‘yes’ vote means and what a ‘no’ vote means,” he said.
Prior to the vote, parent uproar hit new heights when the district announced the findings of the transportation referendum analysis.
The analysis, conducted by James Rhodes, inspector of the Suffolk County Police Department Fourth Precinct, and Mitch Crowley, director of the Town of Smithtown Traffic Safety Department, as well as members of the school district’s transportation, facilities and security departments, concluded that 562 elementary school students would be impacted by the bus cuts, as well as 535 students in the middle schools and 457 students in the high schools in the 2011-12 school year.