letter to the editor

Invalid school vote

Mon, 04/29/2024 - 3:30pm

Dear Editor:

Pursuant to state law, the referendum vote for the school bond is invalid because it was a reconsideration, a repeat vote on November’s referendum that did not meet the required quorum.

The boards crafted the new school charter that states it is “aligned with state law.”

From the newly enacted charter:

Sec. 8. District referendum procedures. The community school district shall conduct referenda for purposes described in this Act or state law in the manner provided for regional school units under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, chapter 103-A.

Subchapter 5: REFERENDUM

§1504. Reconsideration
The procedure to reconsider votes taken at a regional school unit referendum is as set out in this section. [PL 2007, c. 240, Pt. XXXX, §13 (NEW).]
1. Time limit. The regional school unit board shall, within 60 days, initiate a new regional school unit referendum to reconsider the vote of the previous referendum if, within 7 days of the first referendum, at least 10% of the number of voters voting for the gubernatorial candidates in the last gubernatorial election in the municipalities within the regional school unit petition to reconsider a prior regional school unit referendum vote. [PL 2007, c. 240, Pt. XXXX, §13 (NEW).]

2. Required quorum. A reconsideration referendum is not valid unless the number of persons voting in that referendum is at least equal to the number who voted in the prior regional school unit referendum. [PL 2007, c. 240, Pt. XXXX, §13 (NEW).]

2,428 voted last November
1,317 voted on April 24

The vote came up short by 1,111 votes.

And I don’t recall there being a petition.

That seems clear as day. The outcome of the vote is invalidated.

When asked at the public meeting, “What is the difference between November’s referendum and this one?”, the presenter answered: “It’s more expensive”!

Does that disqualify it as a reconsideration vote? I don’t think so.

Will the authorities align with state law and announce that the vote is invalid or simply proceed as if it is not the case?

Susan M. Andersen