CLINTON — The fate of the Instructional Support Levy is still in limbo.

The Clinton School Board on Monday voted unanimously to table the resolution made by board member Jim Tuisl to invalidate a petition submitted by community members to put the question of the school district’s participation in the Instructional Support Levy program to a vote.

Although the petition submitted by Jim Law to School Board Secretary and District Business Director Gayle Isaac on Aug. 6 met the deadline for filing, it did not have the required 401 valid signatures and the petition was worded incorrectly, school district officials said.

An analysis by Clinton County Auditor, Commissioner of Elections, Charlie Sheridan showed only 374 out of the 422 signatures that accompanied the petition were verified as eligible voters.

According to Clinton School District Superintendent Randy Clegg, Law “was presented a copy of the auditor’s findings and his worksheet and notified of his finding.”

Clegg told the board there are three steps the board needs to consider in determining if the petition is sufficient.

“The first step — was the petition filed on time and in this case it was filed in a timely manner,” Clegg explained.

The second step — does the petition have the sufficient number of signatures to cause the board to act.

“In this case the petition needed 401 signatures. The third piece is whether the language of the petition was sufficient,” Clegg said. “In other words, did it follow the requirements of the statutes and in this case there are some real serious questions about the language of the petition.

“Basically, the petition failed to inform the people signing the petition that the issue to be decided, to be outlined in statute, is the validity of the action taken by the board on July 9.”

On June 21, the board passed a resolution of intent to continue participation in the ISL and on July 9, held a public hearing and then passed the resolution.

“The language provided (in the petition) was substantially different from that... although it cites the section of the code, but if they had followed the code they would have had the correct language,” Clegg related.

According to Clegg, late Monday afternoon he received an e-mail from Sheridan that was forwarding an e-mail message from Law indicating that Law “has gone and verified a number of signatures, it’s his belief that he has 402 signatures that are verifiable,” Clegg said.

“At this point I think it would be prudent for the board to refer those signatures... to Mr. Sheridan and ask him to further verify if those signatures are eligible voters residing in the district,” Clegg advised.

Clegg noted it still doesn’t clarify the language in the petition, which he cautioned the board should be a concern.

“But to give due process and allow the process to work as I think the statute intended, my recommendation to the board would be to consider the resolution to invalidate the petition, but table to file action on that resolution until Mr. Sheridan has had an opportunity to attempt to verify the signatures and we can reconsider the question at the committee of the whole meeting on August 27.”

Board President Debra Olsen said that on July 9 the board did adopt a resolution to continue the ISL.

According to Olsen, “the code required that a petition asks the people, if an election should be called to approve or disapprove of the action of the board.

“That was not the action of the board,” she continued. “The board did not, in our last month’s meeting... adopt a resolution that says increase the levy from 8 to 9 percent. It’s simply not correct. It completely deviates from the language of our resolution.”

In regard to the signatures, Olsen said that Sheridan went through five different methods to verify the eligibility of the signatures on the petition.

Board member Thea Engelson said she had reservations about tabling the issue.

“For me, the insufficiency of the language bears a heavy, heavy, heavy influence. In order to afford Mr. Law the due process, I understand tabling this issue, but I want to make sure the community understands we have serious reservations... about the language of the petition.”

Board member Mercia Wolf said “speaking as a (retired) teacher, I think when you make rules, they are supposed to be followed and in this case I think Jim Law had plenty of time to get more than enough signatures. I’m concerned about people who signed that petition and didn’t understand exactly what it meant,” Wolf said.

“I will go along with the board as far as tabling but my inclination is to say ‘you didn’t follow the rules so... tough.’”

The committee of the whole meeting will be Aug. 27 at 5:30 p.m. in the Clinton High School library.