On second thought, there will be a vote in May on buying new school buses in Hannibal after all.
Members of the Board of Education reversed themselves Monday night when they revisited a vote that would have kept the bus purchases off the ballot.
The original vote to put on the ballot a proposition to buy two small buses and two 66-passenger buses failed in a tie vote taken in late April. The buses will cost more than $300,000. The state will pay 90% of the bill. District officials have said the buses are needed to replace buses that are wearing out and costing a lot of money in repairs.
The board’s acting President, Fred Patane, said, “two members who voted against this (proposition) say they made a mistake.”
He said the frustrations of the budget discussions, in which several proposals were offered and defeated while at least one member continued to urge the board to defy the state deadline and refuse to approve a budget, may have influenced some board members to cast a vote that they later regretted.
Patane said he felt the bus purchase decision should be left to taxpayers. “If we don’t put this up, you don’t have a chance to tell us ‘no’. Or ‘yes’.”
But former board member Henderson, sitting in the audience, urged the board to stick with its original vote. “It didn’t pass. We should live with that,” he said.
“When something doesn’t pass, that should be it,” he said later. “A decision was made and now a decision is retracted and another one is voted in. It makes it appear that we’re rudderless.”
He said that if the trend of revisiting votes continued, he would consult an outside lawyer and consider suing the district.
Board member Mike LaFurney said he
wanted to change his vote because he did not realize at the time that the lack of new buses would increase the budget for maintenance of the old buses. (See comments, below, for correction.)
Member Madeline Pittorf said she was not thrilled that the bus purchase went from two small buses and one large bus to two of each “when we’re so tight on money, but I think it should be put on the ballot and let the voters decide.”
The vote to put the bus proposition on the May ballot was unanimous, 6-0.