We’re holding off on Mandate Monday this week so we can devote our post to why everyone should make it a priority to get to the polls and cast their ballot tomorrow.
Last week our poll asked if readers were planning to vote on their school district’s budget. Out of the 20 responses (Only 20?? Our analytics tell us we have more readers than that! Go vote if you haven’t yet.) 18 people said they were planning to head to the polls. Whoopee! That’s 90% of our population that’s planning to vote. Too bad that percentage is significantly higher than the actual percentage of voters that do cast a ballot in school budget votes. Voter turn-out has historically been extremely low, unless there is a hotly contested school board election or some other form of drama surrounding the school’s budget that year.
We think this is a real shame. People often complain about the high taxes we pay here in New York, but then they neglect the opportunity to get involved in the budget process of the one taxing entity that they have a say in.
Many schools have a proven track record of making a concerted effort to involve the community in their budget process. And every district in the state is required by law to hold a public hearing on the budget in the weeks before the vote. In this first year under the new property tax levy cap, we’ve seen many schools conduct their entire budget planning process through public forums so that their residents have had the option of following along with virtually every board of education decision.
Our point is that the opportunities are there for everyone to get involved in what is happening in their local school district, even if their only action is to head to the polls tomorrow and pull a lever.
Here are two great articles about why everyone should plan on voting:
If we’ve convinced you to vote, go Google your school district and do some research. Find out what time the polls are open and read up on what the district is proposing. How will it impact kids and your community? However you vote, we thank you.