BROCTON - David Hazelton, Brocton Board of Education member, has expressed concern about the public voting that may happen in connection with the merger of the Brocton and Westfield central school districts.
He said there should be some requirement for identifying voters as eligible to vote.
At its recent meeting, John Hertlein, district superintendent, told board members he had researched the issue starting with the school's attorney, Jeff Swiatek. Hertlein said the policy committee will look into policy for conducting the election soon.
To vote in a school district election, a person must be a citizen of the United States, be at least 18 years old and be a district resident for at least the last 30 days before the vote. For school district elections, it is not necessary to be registered to vote in municipal elections. Hertlein said Brocton and other districts practice poll registration, meaning the registration and voting takes place at the same time. In that case, it is a matter of district policy to decide what if any verification is needed to vote.
A district could also institute a permanent registration system, but the district would be responsible for the labor to maintain such a system. Voters can be challenged, either by the election inspectors or members of the public. Bases for challenge would include not living in the district or not being old enough to vote. A person who fraudulently votes is subject to severe penalties.
Thomas DeJoe, board president, said some people prefer not to register to vote in municipal elections because that is the list used to select people for jury duty.
"It is important to know what Westfield is doing. During that vote in June it is important that both are doing the same thing," he said.
Hertlein assured Hazelton he would talk to David Davison, Westfield superintendent, about the matter and that the policy committee will be meeting soon and will discuss the matter.
In other business, Doug Walter, board member, discussed his experience attending the Chautauqua County School Boards Association's meeting on Nov. 29, when Sen. Catharine Young spoke about regional high schools and the state budget. The regional high school bill passed the state Senate but is stalled in the Assembly.
DeJoe reported on the CCSBA meeting on Dec. 3. The speaker at the meeting was John King Jr., state education commissioner, who was elected to the position by the Board of Regents in May 2011.
"We have an education commissioner who has been there and done that," DeJoe said. "He has been in the classroom."
DeJoe also said King realized the value of education from his own experience with schools whose teachers helped him succeed.