HEMPSTEAD - Protesters calling for the Hempstead school board president's resignation Thursday night found themselves in the dark.

The lights were shut off in the crowded auditorium after the school board left the meeting. Some people in the audience claim they heard school board President Betty Cross ordered the lights be turned off.

Cross adjourned the meeting shortly after the board voted for an investigation into Superintendent Susan Johnson's conduct. More than 40 teachers are also expected to be laid off.

Attorney Fred Brewington, who represents former school board candidate Maribel Toure, says the school board is making cuts to offset the district's pending legal costs. Toure disputes last month's election and accuses Cross of committing fraud. Last week, Brewington sent a petition to the state's education commissioner, calling for a full investigation.

In a statement, the school board denies deliberately shutting off the lights. "The school board president is not in charge of the lights.  Any power failure will be looked at, investigated and corrected to avoid this problem in the future."