Bond issue recount to be held Monday

Published 5:42 pm Thursday, September 20, 2007

There will be a recount of the votes on the Pearl River Central School District’s bond issue on Monday, Sept. 24, said PRC School District Superintendent Dennis Penton.

The votes will be recounted by hand by county election officials, because of the closeness of the vote in Tuesday’s vote, Penton said in a phone interview Thursday morning.  Tuesday’s vote was on a paper ballot, and the ballots were scanned into a computer to tally the votes.

“The reason for the recount is because there were so few votes that decided the outcome. Also, there is a computer involved, and anytime there is a computer involved, there is room for error,” Penton said.

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Penton said he would be submitting an official request for a recount in writing to officials today, but that since he had already verbally requested one, one was being scheduled.

“The election officials are really working with us on this,” Penton said.

The bond issue vote on Tuesday needed a 60 percent majority to pass. It received 59.09 percent of the needed votes to pass. Penton said only a few votes were needed to reach the 60 percent mark.

“I think it is an important enough issue to ask for a recount, because we only needed ten more votes,” Penton said.

Any registered voter living in the PRC school district was eligible to vote in Tuesday’s election. If the recount determines that the issue passed, the bond will cost the average taxpayer who owns a $100,000 home a total increase in taxes and car tags of about $58.

Penton and the PRC school board members had proposed the bond to help pay for a new elementary school, which was to be put in the Salem area. The new school is needed, Penton said, because of overcrowding issues throughout the school district. There are currently 1,747 students in grades K-6 in the school district.

Since school started in early August, overcrowding has been a problem in all grades, manifesting in several places. For example, three of the teachers at PRC High School in Carriere have been “floating” or moving from classroom to classroom at the school, carrying their materials and belongings with them on carts.

At the elementary school in McNeill, two first-grade classes have been meeting on the stage in the auditorium, and using the auditorium seats to store their backpacks.

A total of thirteen precincts were included in Tuesday’s vote, with a total of 1,073 votes cast. There were 634 votes cast in favor of the issue, and 439 votes against.