Greater Johnstown School District officials are blaming a voting machine for the defeat of the district’s proposal to extend its Crescendo Road bus garage lease.
The bus garage lease extension was defeated Tuesday night in a vote of 293 to 286. For the school district elections there were two voting locations in the district, Johnstown High School and the Ephratah Fire House. In Johnstown, two voting machines were used, one for people with last names that begin with A through J and another for last names starting with K through Z.
Superintendent Katherine Sullivan said the proposition passed 185 to 35 among voters at the A through J machine and was defeated 227 to 89 on the K through Z machine.
“As you went down the listings of propositions on the second machine, for propositions 3 and 4, the yes/nos were askew. They weren’t directly under the lever,” Sullivan said.
The lease extension would have given the district another year at the Crescendoe Road bus garage for the same lease price of $97,715 as the 2008-09 school year. District officials said most of the lease costs would be refunded by New York state.
Fulton County Board of Elections officials said they did not facilitate the school board election Tuesday night, although school districts did hire voting inspectors from the board of elections-approved list of inspectors.
Sullivan said the district is exploring whether it may be possible to put its failed propositions back up for another vote. A proposition to extend the district’s one-year emergency lease for three passenger buses and one wheelchair bus for an additional four years was also defeated by a vote of 295 to 275.
School Board President Robert Curtis said if the district can’t put the lease extension back up for another vote, the school board will need to consult with legal counsel to determine what options are available for storing the district’s buses.
“We’re in a tough spot now because now we have to find someplace to park our buses and we’re probably going to have to move out there by June 30,” Curtis said. “In all honesty, we’re probably going back to Irving Street and we’re going to have to store buses here at the high school. I’m very, very disappointed this was voted down. We’ve been working very hard to get a bus facility going, and we needed one more year.”