If things continue the way they stand right now, voters in the Frontier Central School District will be forced to go to one polling site – quite possibly the Frontier Education Center on Southwestern Boulevard – to decide if how they want to vote in terms of the budget, and who they want representing them on the board.
At its most recent meeting, a resolution was passed by a 5-4 vote to reduce the number of polling places to one.
This decision was a mistake by the Frontier School Board, and one that should be reconsidered for a number of reasons. First, this type of decision should be placed on a referendum for voters in the district to decide if the pros outweigh the cons, and whether it would be beneficial to the district.
The estimated cost savings for the district would be about $2,600. Some board members argue that this savings could help institute a program or two that was eliminated in the current budget.
It is a valid argument, but on the flip side, does the cost savings justify the means of many voters in the district being forced to drive further to vote?
Part of the problem also has to do with the fact that a central location being discussed for the reduction would be the educational center on Southwestern Boulevard.
There are several logistical questions that should be answered before voters are forced to cast their ballot in one centralized location.
The facility is located on Route 20, not far from South Park Avenue, where vehicles often bunch up at the light at the intersection. This makes turning left out of that parking lot extremely difficult, and dangerous at times.
The situation would be worse if there are several vehicles attempting to make a left turn at the same time.
How would that situation be handled? Is the $2,600 savings a justifiable number to potentially place drivers at risk of getting injured, or possibly worse, to vote on a budget, trustees or other possible referendums? Also, if there are long lines of people at one site, will that turn voters away who may not want to stand in long lines?
We certainly understand that as board members, they are trying to come up with ways to save money. Every $2,600 saved could benefit the district and its students.
But there is more to a situation like this and the board needs to consider other factors.
Another important factor is that when it came to other decisions, like adding an ex-officio – or non-voting student representative to the board – it was done so by a referendum.
Also earlier this year, the residents were given the chance to decide if they wanted to downsize the board from nine to seven members.
This has a direct impact on voters, both in terms of taxpayer dollars, and how it’s spent, as well as having to decide whether they want to have one central location. The decision by the board should not be to make residents have to go to one polling place. It should be, would $2,600 in savings on a budget that is more than $70 million a year be enough to justify reducing to one site?
We encourage board members who are in favor of it to present why this would be beneficial. We also encourage members against it to present why they think it would not be beneficial. Then, ultimately, place it on a referendum next May.
When the dust settles, let the voters decide what is best for the district.
• Be sure to check future issues of The Sun for more details on the special savings that will be offered to our loyal readers as part of our annual “Subscription Sale Blow Out.”