NORTH BENNINGTON - Residents of North Bennington Graded School District will be asked a third time if they favor authorizing the Prudential Committee to close the public North Bennington Graded School and lease the building to the independent Village School of North Bennington.
A petition requesting a revote of those two ballot questions and signed by more than the required 5 percent of the electorate was submitted to the district clerk Tuesday morning.
Clerk Gail Mauricette said the petition has 130 signatures on it - far exceeding the 82 required by law - although she has yet to verify them against the voter check list. The petition was turned in by Joyce Scarey, a district resident who has been among the most vocal opponents of closing the public school.
On Oct. 23, residents voted 294-268 to authorize the Prudential Committee to close the public school. The petition began circulating the following day.
Scarey believes some voters were confused by information that had been mailed to supporters about the change and that more information is needed regarding two school improvement bonds before voters should have been asked to make a decision.
Those in favor of closing the school, which includes the public board, believe the independent school will be more sustainable than the public school model that feels annual pressures from the state to consolidate and has little control over enrollment.
According to state statute, if a petition requesting a revote is submitted within 30 days of the vote the school district must hold another vote asking the same questions within 60 days from the time the petition is given to the clerk.
In March, voters were also asked similar questions specific to opening the independent school in the fall of 2012. Those questions passed by more than a two-to-one margin, but the Village School was not approved by the state so the Prudential Committee kept the public school open for the current school year.
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