By Pilar Sokol
Deputy General Counsel
On July 3, 2020 Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.47, which establishes July 28, 2020 as the date when school districts may resubmit budgets defeated at the June 9, 2020 annual meeting, or a revised one.
The EO appears to provide districts with the opportunity to conduct their revote in-person, as strongly lobbied for by both NYSSBA and NYSCOSS. However, because the EO does not make the in-person voting option absolutely explicit, school districts are advised to consult with their school attorney to secure their interpretation of the EO on this point.
Unfortunately, the EO does not provide districts wanting to pursue the revote option much time to prepare. For example, revote notices have to be mailed by Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
The EO also leaves unaddressed several issues, including the inability of districts to send out military ballots no later than 25 days before the vote as required by the Education Law. That date was the same day as the EO was issued.
Below is a summary of the Executive Order (EO) provisions that relate to school budget revotes and a related timeline, both prepared by members of NYSSBA’s legal staff.
- Revotes must be conducted in accordance with guidelines issued by the Department of Health pursuant to the EO.
- Districts pursuing a revote are authorized to operate on a contingency budget from July 1- 28.
- Districts will not have to publish the usual two notices required for a budget revote. Instead, they are to send postcard notice to all district residents.
- The postcard notice must detail the date and location of the revote and the date of the budget hearing; definition of a qualified voter; and instructions for applying for an absentee ballot.
- The potential for contraction of the COVID-19 virus shall constitute a temporary illness for the purpose of eligibility to vote as an absentee voter.
- The postcard notice must be mailed no later than 21 days preceding the revote, but districts that possess a resident’s valid email address may send the postcard notice to that resident via email instead of by mail.
- Districts possessing a qualified voter’s email address also may send a school budget notice via email instead of by mail.
- Property tax report cards must be submitted to the State Education Department no later than 14 days prior to the date of the school budget revote. The Department must make its compilation available electronically at the latest on July 21, 2020.
Timeline—2020 Budget Revote
|July 7||Deadline for sending postcard notice to residents regarding the revote.|
|July 7-14||Budget must be completed at least seven days prior to the budget hearing at which it is to be presented.|
|July 14||Property Tax Report Card information is due to the State Education Department.|
|July 14-21||Public hearing to present budget 7-14 days prior to the revote.|
|July 22||Deadline for sending “budget notice” (6 days before the revote)|
|July 28||Uniform Budget Revote Date per Executive Order 202.47.|
Timeline by Kimberly Fanniff, Senior Staff Counsel