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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 1, 2016
For More Information Contact:

Jonathan Burman or Jeanne Beattie

(518) 474-1201

www.nysed.gov

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Commissioner Elia Rejects Petition to Overturn Albany School Bond Vote

Despite "Irregularities", Not Enough Evidence Presented to Force a New Vote

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia today upheld the results of the vote on a bond to build a new high school in Albany.  Despite what she called “irregularities,” Elia said the petitioners had not met their burden of establishing that a new vote was required.  Elia noted that, in several instances, the petitioners seeking to overturn the results did not “establish facts to support their claim.”

“I recognize this is an emotional issue for this community,” Elia said.  “But I have to make decisions based on evidence in the record before me, and the petitioners who challenged the results of the vote did not produce enough evidence to require a new vote.”

The bond proposal was initially rejected by voters on November 3, 2015.  A less expensive bond proposal was presented to voters on February 9, 2016.  That bond proposal passed with 3,974 votes in favor and 3,785 votes against – a difference of 189 votes.  Appeals ensued.

In her decision, Elia wrote: “Given the lack of evidence produced by petitioners and the 189-vote margin by which the bond referendum passed, on this record, I am constrained to dismiss this appeal.  I cannot conclude that petitioners have established that the fundamental fairness of the February 9, 2016 bond vote was compromised and I find no basis upon which to overturn the results of the vote.”

The full decision can be found here: http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/Decisions/volume55/d16890