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Word of the Month for July - Cooperation



August 4, 2014

Board of Education Meeting
Golding Middle School Library at 7:00 p.m.


July 12, 2011

Board reviews election and voting policies

Each year, the Cobleskill-Richmondville Board of Education reviews sections of its policies as standard practice. During the July 11 meeting, the board addressed policies pertaining to school board elections and budget/board voting procedures.

Traditionally, the policies are read as they currently stand, and the board is presented with alternative options that are then discussed. The board can decide to leave the policy as is or have further discussion which could lead to a change in board policy.

Policies reviewed during the July 11 meeting were:

• Policy 2120: School Board Elections [view PDF of the current policy]
• Policy 2120.1: Candidates and Campaigning [view PDF of the current policy]
• Policy 2120.2: Voting Procedures [view PDF of the current policy]
• Policy 2120.3: School Budget and Bond Referenda [view PDF of the current policy]

Policy 2120: School Board Elections was adopted on April 6,1998. The policy establishes that the annual election of the school district shall be held on the third Tuesday of May, unless there is a conflict with religious observances, in which case, the election would be held the second Tuesday in May. It also establishes that items to be voted on include the annual budget, any vacancies on the Board of Education and any special provisions that have been properly presented.

Given the straight-forward nature of the policy, the board moved to adopt it as is.

Policy 2120.1: Candidates and Campaigning was adopted on Jan. 27, 1997. The policy states that “each vacancy upon the board of education to be filled shall be considered a separate office,” and sets forth the current practice in which interested BOE candidates must petition to run for a specific open board seat.

The board has the option to change this policy so vacancies would be “at large” and not “seat-specific.” The change would mean that instead of running for a specific board position, the candidates who receive the top votes would be elected to any open seats.

For example, there were three vacant seats resulting in three board elections on the 2011 ballot. Under a revised policy, instead of choosing between candidates for a specific seat, the names of all six candidates would have been on the ballot and voters would have been asked to vote for three candidates. The top three vote-getters would have been elected to the board.

If the board decides to change this policy, it would require an electorate vote, meaning that voters would have to approve or reject the change. The vote could be held during the school vote in May or during a special election.

The board decided that further discussion was warranted on the topic, and the policy will be discussed again at an upcoming BOE meeting.

Policy 2120.2: Voting Procedures was approved in 1994 and established two election districts in C-RCS. By law, voter registration is required in elections in which there are two election districts. This means anyone wishing to vote on the school budget, proposals or board elections must be pre-registered with the county Board of Elections.

The Board of Education has the option to do away with voter registration, but then the district could not be divided into separate election districts. One benefit of voter registration is that it allows the district or residents to challenge a voter’s eligibility. One drawback is that people who have not pre-registered are not permitted to vote.

The board decided more discussion on the pros and cons of both options needed to take place before the policy could be approved. The review of this policy will be addressed again at an upcoming BOE meeting.

Policy 2120.3: School Budget and Bond Referenda states that the annual district school budget, as well as any propositions, shall be submitted for voter approval as required by law.

As board members were uncertain what the exact procedure was for residents to put forth a voter proposition, it was decided that this matter should be reviewed at a later time when additional information about those procedures is available.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Monday, July 25, in the Golding Middle School library.