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Grand Island Board of Education: Light turnout for district vote

Fri, May 18th 2018 09:35 pm
By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
With all three candidates for Board of Education guaranteed election and the school budget staying within a state mandated tax cap, comparatively few citizens went to Grand Island High School Tuesday to vote in the school district's budget vote and trustee election.
Fewer than 700 people voted this year, the lowest voter turnout in years.
Voters approved the $62,481,712 budget by a 520 to 165 count. They also approved a $650,000 proposition to purchase six school buses and a pickup truck, 494-184.
Three trustees ran for three open seats. Incumbent Joy LaMarca received 492 votes, incumbent Glenn Bobeck received 490, and newcomer Robin McCreary received 479.
The turnout was even smaller than in 1980, when 787 out of a possible 4,500 resident voters went to the polls.
Both LaMarca and Bobeck attributed part of the low voter turnout to a lack of controversial issues. LaMarca added the lower turnout to was a function of having just three candidates for three open seats, "and also the budget was fair. It really was."
Bobeck said the budget was "responsive to our taxpayers needs. It continues to add services to our students responsibly."
Regarding his re-election to a fifth term, Bobeck said he was "just happy to be around for three more years and continue to do what I have done for the last 12 years, which is to try to make our district as good as it could be and help our students achieve their goals in education."
LaMarca said she chose to run for a second three-year term "Because I love it. I do. ... I love being a part of it, I love working with the district, and I love working with the teachers, the kids, the students."
According to the New York State School Board Association, the overall school budget passage rate statewide was 97.6 percent, a 98.6 percent passage rate for school districts like Grand Island that were within the state's tax cap; and 50 percent for districts exceeding the cap. Initial statewide results gathered by NYSSBA indicate voters passed 653 school district budgets and defeated 16. (NYSSBA was still awaiting results for seven districts.)

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