Residents want a referendum for Curtiss sale
HAMMONDSPORT—Residents opposing the Curtiss school sale to the town of Urbana have turned in 961 signatures to the Hammondsport school district, meaning a referendum vote is likely.
The district clerk now has to validate the signatures and make sure they came from registered Hammondsport school district voters. However, Superintendent Kyle Bower previously explained a vote required 10 percent of the nearly 4,500 district residents (or 450).
At the Wednesday, Feb. 16, school board meeting, Bower said he is taking careful legal advice in holding the referendum vote; district residents will vote on whether the Hammondsport school district can sell the Curtiss building to Urbana. Bower explained he would like to hold the vote during the regular May budget vote to save on costs.
The Hammondsport school board approved the sale, three to two, at the Wednesday, Jan. 19 meeting. Board members Jim Zimar, Richard Drain, and Nancy Torp approved the sale to Urbana. Francis Curran and Christine Kolo voted against it. Bower previously explained the board resolved two and a half years ago that the buyer of the school must “maintain the community feel of the Curtiss School.” He added, “the ultimate hope is the building is fully utilized.”
There were three offers on the school. Opponents to the sale explained they want the property on the tax rolls.
“The number one reason is to get the property back on the tax roll,” said Dick Hamilton, Urbana resident. “We need additional properties on the tax roll to contribute to the tax base.”
Paul Martuscello, Urbana board member, explained the town is looking to move its offices and the Hammondsport village offices into the school. A committee is looking at other uses for the Curtiss school, including renting out the extra space.