Friday, 28 May 2010 08:35
Nassau schools have a right to be proud. Teachers receive good wages, the schools are relatively free of crime, and the amount of equipment, supplies and resources rival even that of many colleges. But many people feel that to support these schools, the high-cost of administration needs to be taken into account, and possibly adjusted downwards. In these times of belt-tightening and real estate decline, it’s a wonder that the school budgets get higher every year. Just recently, the school budget increases in Syosset and Oyster-Bay school districts, and most others on Long Island, were approved.
But is the voting fair? The elections for school budget are commonly held in schools. Not grocery stores, or libraries, or churches, but in schools. I guess that is not necessarily unfair. What is unfair, but apparently is perfectly legal, is for the school holding the election to hold an event the night of the election in the same building where the election is being held. It can be a concert, an open house or merely a cake sale. It can be anything to get parents of school-aged children to drive and park, for hours, in and around the school. This ingenious idea serves two purposes: It pressures parents to come to the school on Election Day, and it actively obstructs parents with non-school age children and others from easy access to the polling place on Election Day.
Does it really matter? If you were voting on higher taxes for increased medical coverage, and you had to go to the hospital to vote while a medical emergency was under way, would that be fair? If you had to vote on higher taxes for better train service, and the election was held in the railroad station during rush hour, would that be fair? Often, the perception of unfairness is sufficient to cause alarm. Why do the residents of Syosset, Oyster Bay, Long Island and all of New York State allow for schools to be perceived as holding unfair elections?
It may not be illegal, but it should be.