Woonsocket School Committee referendum July 24

Woonsocket School Committee referendum July 24

WOONSOCKET – On July 24, voters in the city of Woonsocket will head to the polls to determine whether the city’s five-member appointed School Committee will become a five-member elected committee.

The mayoral appointment system – first approved by voters in 2012 and instituted in 2013 – has come under fire in recent months from City Council members and members of the public due to discrepancies in the preferred picks of Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt and the City Council, who must approve the appointments.

In April, the council voted to hold a referendum on whether the committee should return to an elected system. The referendum was originally scheduled for June 12, but was pushed back due to conflict with a state law that requires a 50-day waiting period between the call for a local referendum and approval of the ballot by the secretary of state’s office.

According to Board of Canvassers Manager Estelle Corriveau, on July 24, voters will be able to cast their ballots at one of 12 city polling locations between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., just like in a regular election. If voters approve a return to an elected school board, candidates will appear on the November ballot, with a declaration period on Aug. 22 and 23.

“Hopefully there won’t be a primary, but if there’s one, it’s going to be Oct. 2,” said Corriveau, noting a primary will be scheduled if more than 10 candidates declare.

Corriveau said she expects approximately 2,000 voters to turn out for the referendum, though the number may be fewer due to vacation schedules. Voters may request an absentee mail ballot and submit an application for a regular mail ballot at any time.