Six months (or more) before any biennial election (in an unchartered town), any group of registered voters or taxpaying land owners can produce a petition with 25 signatures that demands reconstitution of any board, not just the Board of Education. This was last done in Woodstock in June 1971 to change the BOE to its present size. This is a very rare event in CT with only one example in the last two decades in Naugatuck in 1993.
Powers and Shultz’ petition have signatures from 25 different sirnames although I can’t rule out inbreeding.
This petitioned ordinance is permitted because the Town of Woodstock is governed by state statutes in the absence of a town charter. So the term length and the number of members on the Board of Finance and the Planning and Zoning Commission, in addition to the Board of Education, can be changed in any 2-year cycle if 25 disgruntled voters and taxpayers don’t like who they elected as long as they can meet the approximate 6-month deadline governed by the schedule of election requirements starting with the causcuses in mid-July. This could come about if the 25 digruntled votes voted for candidates that did NOT get elected. How many of those disgruntled do you think exist in Woodstock?
Of course, it’s the election in November that actually determines the outcome. Nevertheless, it’s a slap in the face at taxpayers expense (est. $4-5000 with lawyer expenses).
This doesn’t mean that the deposed Board members can’t run in November and they might extend their tenure by being relected.
So, if the vote were taken in the town meeting scheduled for May 26 after the Memorial Day holiday, then the ordinance to reconstitute the Board of Education would be in effect 30 days later on June 25th (to be determine at the next election). If the Selectmen decide to send the petition to a referendum (by voting machine) 2 weeks after the Town meeting, then the referendum might be held on June 9th. If the result to repeal the Board is voted YES and then this is published on June 10th, then this new ordinance becomes a valid ordinance on July 10th. The deadline for an effective ordinance is June 14th, 2009 according to the Secretary of State’s office.
At this date there is no guarrantee that the ordinance put forth by Powers and Shultz will NOT be voted on in the May 26th town meeting. The petition was discussed in the 13-minute Selectmen’s meeting today but no vote was taken unless I dosed off when the vote occured. I believe that a rabble will attend the May 26th town meeting to force a vote in that meeting.