The Wyandanch school board Wednesday night voted to hold a special election to fill a board seat made vacant after the state nullified the position’s results in the last election.
Moneik Hatcher, who won a board seat in the May election, was removed earlier this month after the state education commissioner ruled that her contest was actually a tie. Hatcher had won the seat by one vote over incumbent Charlie Reed, but a ballot containing all write-in votes in non-designated spots, including a vote for Reed, was never counted.
In her decision, the commissioner stated that the district must fill the vacancy left by Hatcher “as soon as practicable” but no later than the budget vote in May.
On Wednesday night, at the end of its meeting, the board voted 4 to 2 to hold a special election on April 12. The election, which district spokesman Nathan Jackson said would cost about $10,000, will take place at the district’s administration building.
The two board members voting against the resolution, Yvonne Robinson and James Crawford, said they felt the new vote should occur during the May budget vote and election rather than spending additional money on a special election.
Crawford said there should have been more discussion prior to the board vote and called it a “selfish decision” to hold two elections.
“What’s the rush?” he said after the vote. “You’re putting more stress on the community to come out for two elections. If you wait until May you can have more candidates and the community can get more involved.”
Robinson questioned the cost of a special election.
“They keep hollering about ‘We don’t have enough money’ and now they want to spend more money,” she said.
Board member Nancy Holliday said that it is important to fill the vacant seat as soon as possible.
“We’re working with six people who don’t agree on everything,” she said. “One month can matter a lot.”
As for the expense, Holliday said that had the May election been declared the tie that it was ultimately ruled to be, the district would have had to have held a special election anyway.
Both Hatcher and Reed said they will run again. Petitions nominating candidates must be signed by whichever is the greater of 25 qualified voters or two percent of the number of voters from the last election. The petitions must be filed with the district clerk by Mar 14.