ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday he will sign an executive order allowing all school election ballots to be counted as long as they are received by Tuesday, June 16 – a week later than originally announced.
The extension comes after several districts in the state said they had challenges with sending ballots to out voters on time. But that doesn’t appear to be a problem locally in Chautauqua County, where County Board of Elections Commissioner Norman Green said there were no problems or delays getting ballots out to residents.
“While most all of the rest of NYS is scrambling and absolutely FAILING to pull off a vote by mail election for school votes this Tuesday, our county school district clerks with support from our Board of Elections staff are getting the job done on time and in the most cost effective way. So Chautauqua County proud of the people I work with at my office and at the schools,” Green wrote on his Facebook page over the weekend.
While the deadline for mail-in ballots has been extended for a week, if any ballots are hand-delivered to a respective school district, they still must be received by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9.
For Jamestown Public Schools, residents are asked to vote on an $88.3 million “pandemic” budget that includes no property tax increase. The total spending is nearly $2.7 million less than the current year’s spending plan and includes the temporary elimination of the Success Academy and P-Tech programs, seven layoffs, the elimination of all field trips, and the holding off on hiring 40 new employees – including 23 teachers.
The austere spending plan is due to the state saying all schools in New York could see as much as a 20% reduction in state aid due to a downturn in the economy caused by COVID-19.
More details on the budget are provided on the school website.
The James Prendergast Library will also be part of the upcoming school district budget vote, with a proposition asking the public to approve the creation of a $350,000 library funding district, with money being raised through a property tax that would be added to the School Tax bill.
WRFA spoke with library executive director Annie Greene last week about the proposition. She noted the money is needed to help offset the library’s ongoing funding challenges, especially since the city of Jamestown significantly cut local aid to the library in recent years.