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by Stewart Lilker

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The Popular Resolution (March 31, 2000)

March 31, 2000 - Freeport School District Administrative Offices

History was made this past Friday when a group of Freeport residents filed a proposition with the school district clerk to put a widely supported resolution on the May 16th School District Ballot. For the first time ever in Freeport, a diverse group of residents have come together to empower the people to vote for a popularly submitted district wide proposition. 

Pictured are proposition supporters Eloy Yndigoyen and Cristoval Lopez of the Freeport Neighborhood Association and School Board candidate Sunday Coward

NYS Law, the school district policy and the Board resolution establishing the district's annual meeting and budget vote authorizes propositions to be filed with the district clerk "until 5 o'clock p.m. (local time), March 31, 2000," upon the presentation of a petition to the district clerk.

Eloy Yndigoyen, former school board candidate and a leader of the Freeport Neighborhood Association arrived at the district administration building at 4:30 p.m. to attended the presentation of the proposition to the district clerk. Upon his arrival, he saw both the superintendent, Josephine Moffett and the district clerk, Mary Bediako, getting into their cars and driving away. A few minutes later, proposition supporter and announced school board candidate, Sunday Coward and your reporter, the author of the proposition, arrived at the district administration building to present the petitions to the district clerk. Freeport PTA co-president Stephanie Cieslik was broken down by the side of the road and could not make the presentation.

The proposition asks the people to decide that the district policy manual be posted on the district web site. That notice of special or emergency meetings be posted on the district web site. That the school board meetings be video taped and two copies of the tapes be given to the library within two business days of the meeting. A simple yes or no vote will determine all three items.

There were only a few people in the administration building when the group entered the building at four thirty five. The receptionist, unaware of the getaway of the district clerk, tried to locate her. One of the office workers looked in the clerk's office and reported that the clerk wasn't there and that she didn't know where she was. Your reporter, aware of the voting irregularities that have plagued Freeport in the past few years and with only twenty three minutes to go until the 5 o'clock deadline, sent Ray Hawkins to the Freeport police department to summon the police. Your reporter was advised that there were no public phones in the district administration building.

At twenty minutes to five the superintendent's secretary, Mary Ann Ross, came down from the second floor and asked what was going on. She was told that the group had come to submit a proposition to the district clerk per the Board resolution of March 22nd. She asked for the Board's resolution. She was advised that nobody had it with them, but the district should have it and that it was printed in the legal notices of the local paper, the Leader. A couple of minutes later, Freeport Police Officer Dolan arrived at the administration building with Ray Hawkins. Mary Ann Ross then went to find the legal notice. A few minutes later, notice in hand, she arrived back at the reception area and said she would try and locate the district clerk by cell phone.

At three minutes to five, the district clerk, Mary Bediako entered the administration building. She said, "Mr. Lilker, I know my job. I was going to be back here by five." Your reporter said, "Dr. Bediako, you weren't supposed be back here by five. You were supposed to be here until five."

At two minutes to five the petition was clocked in by the district clerk.



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