|Check your District's Report Card on proposed Spending & Taxes HERE|
DISTRICTS TO WATCH:
There could be pockets of participation whereever controversy is on the ballot.
A few examples:
--Hamburg ,where a simmering discussion of board members, and their competence has boiled over to the point the superintendent's car was recently vandalized and threatening notes were left.
--In Holland, which is the only district in upstate New York seeking to exceed its state mandated tax cap, and must therefore pass a budget by more than a simple majority of the voters.
-In Niagara-Wheatfield, where ten faculty members, six sports and several music programs could be cut from the budget.
--In Springville, where term limits for board members is on the ballot.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS:
At Facebook.com/WBEN930 or At The Bottom of This Page
"Here's something where you have the opportunity to vote on probably your biggest portion of your property tax and something as important as public education and you would come out to vote but they don't," Kremer says.
"I think it's easy to kind of feel like ' what does my one vote do' in state or federal elections, but when you are talking about a school budget, there's real consequences of not voting. "
-Brendan Biddlecom of "Keep Clarence Schools Great ", a group formed in light of last year's contentious battles over taxes and spending.
Kremer says a beautiful day or other things on their mind may be why more people don't vote, but he believes a new tax rebate program may get people to take the vote for granted. "The state is going to pick up the difference of any increase between this year and next year provided a district stays at or below the tax cap.
"The fact of the matter is they're going to look at this and say it's a reasonable budget. Any increase we're going to get a rebate on, so I doubt they'll be turning out in droves this year," predicts Kremer.
North Collins Interim Superintendent Joan Collins agrees, having seen voting swing to both extremes during her time as Orchard Park Superintendent.
"When taxpayers are unhappy, and they have let you know that through your budget presentations, you will have a very high turnout"
-- Joan Thomas, Interim Supt. North Collins, Former Orchard Park Supt.
The controversy can cool quickly. One year after lawn signs and rallies spotlighted the debate over an austerity budget in Clarence, this year's turnout is likely to be far less, according to Biddlecom, who worries about how low turnout cann allow single issue voter groups to define the debate.
"It's not just lack of voter turnout, but it's knowing what you are getting into, peeling back the layers and really getting into the issues," he says.