Assemblywoman Buttenschon and Senator Griffo Call for State Guidance on School Budget Vote

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica/Rome) announced that she, alongside Senator Joseph Griffo, sent a joint letter to Gov. Cuomo regarding concerns related to an executive order on school budget votes and school board elections. The letter was written to ask the governor to provide guidance and clarity on how to conduct school elections in a manner that is feasible for school districts while remaining safe for the general public.

“Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, it has been clear that the elections taking place this year would face unique challenges,” Buttenschon said. “Even under normal circumstances, school districts face many logistical issues involved with conducting school budget votes, but the crisis at hand has provided additional obstacles to conducting these elections in a way that is both safe for the staff and voters and feasible for the school district. Senator Griffo and I are asking for guidance from the governor on how to hold elections without putting an undue burden on our school districts.”

The letter outlines many of the concerns that school districts have about addressing these unique challenges with limited resources. They cite the difficulty of identifying all qualified voters in the district and printing required materials when capacity is limited. The letter also asks for clarification on procedures for hosting the required adjourned budget hearing, information regarding who is allowed to be or must be present to count the votes and announce the final results and what the district should do if the budget is defeated.

Furthermore, there is also the question of cost. Specifically, school districts are asking how they’re supposed to afford the additional costs associated with the printing and mailing ballots in the face of their already limited resources and a potential 20 percent cut in funding due to COVID-19’s effect on the state economy.