Buffalo Does Not Care About Their Schools?
Judging by this statistic, it makes many wonder if people in Buffalo, New York care about their school system or not.
The 2022 Midterm Elections in New York State have come and now gone for the country and something very disappointing has happened once again and many people are distressed about it.
For many years, citizens, parents, and various government officials have complained about low voter turnout in the Buffalo Public School Board Elections. Some years voter turnout was in the low single digits, which ultimately means that most of the citizens did not participate in the elector process for our schools.
The low turnout was often blamed on the fact that the elections happened in May and because they were separated from our regular elections, it caused extremely low turnout.
It got to a point where a coalition of parents and other interested parties were lobbying to change when school board elections were scheduled.
Responding to this, our local state political delegation introduced New York State Assembly Bill A4949B / Senate Bill S5224B to officially change the election date from May to November.
This bill would move the Buffalo School Board elections from May to November in order to increase voter participation and lessen the costs associated with the election process. Past years' elections have seen voter turnout as low as five percent of eligible voters, all at a cost of nearly $100,000 to the fiscally challenged city coffers. Currently, the cities of Rochester and Syracuse hold their school board elections in November.
-New York State Senate Bill S5224B Justification
This became law in 2019 and this year was when it all took effect.
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While turnout has increased, hovering around 24% this year based on the preliminary numbers released by the Erie County Board of Elections. Turnout was still extremely low when compared to other races.
There are more than 150 thousand registered voters in the City of Buffalo and the fact that only around 36 thousand decided to vote for the School Board is disappointing to say the least.
And here I thought we cared about our schools.