Remove Elections from NS School District Schools

Remove Elections from NS School District Schools

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North Shore Parents for Safe Schools (nsparentsforsafeschools@gmail.com) started this petition to giarrizzop@northshoreschools.org and

At the North Shore School District Board of Education meeting on January 10th, 2019, the Board of Education ("Board") discussed the removal of elections from the North Shore School District schools.  Superintendent Giarrizzo determined that schools are "accessible" and "adequate" for elections and the Board took no action to remove any election from any of its schools.  For well over one year, parents and community members have been requesting that the Board and Superintendent take action to remove the elections and make our schools safer.  The Superintendent and Board have delayed discussion, consideration, and action on this issue throughout that time period.  If no change is made by the end of March, the election will not be moved out of the schools this year (as the District is legally required to publicize the meeting at that point).  Sign this petition to let the Board and Superintendent know that you feel this is an important issue and this year's Board and Budget election needs to be moved out of our schools.

Background:

  • A number of federal, state, local, and school elections are held in most of the school buildings in our district each year, while our schools are occupied by students and staff.
  • The locations of the federal, state, and local elections are dictated by the Nassau County Board of Elections.  However, the District has not opposed the elections being held in our schools.
  • The District has full authority to move the School Board and Budget election and can do so immediately.  At the January 10, 2019 Board Meeting, the Board and Superintendent stated that the polling place could not be changed and cited NYS Education Law 2002 (New York State Education Law). However, the Education Law clearly states that they are permitted to change the polling location, as it's written, "If the district possesses no schoolhouse, or if the schoolhouse shall not be accessible or adequate, then the annual meeting and election shall be held at such place as the trustees or board of education, or the clerk, shall designate in the notice."
  • Schools are inadequate as they expose the students and staff to unnecessary security risks, as ID’s are not checked and no one can legally be prevented from entering the building during school hours on those days.  The locations within the building are not securely separated from the rest of the building, as at one location a curtain is all that separates the voting area from students on the other side.
  • The elections also restrict academic activities, as part of the building cannot be used for their usual functions.
  • Other school districts on Long Island have taken action regarding the removal of elections.

Requested Action

  • The School Board and Budget Election should be relocated to a location other than the school building utilized by students.  Options include, but are not limited to: Community Centers, Libraries, Firehouses, Religious Facilities, as well as other District facilities not occupied by students.
  • Once the District has committed to moving their election, the District can formally request that the federal, state, and local elections also be relocated.  A request by the District prior to taking action on their own election would be an empty request by the District and would be viewed that way by the Board of Elections.

Comments from Educational and Election Leaders

  • Carle Place Superintendent – schools “are spending so much money trying to harden their schools, and then keeping them wide open on Election Day”
  • RVC Superintendent – “We can’t figure out how to have large numbers of voters come to our buildings and maintain a safe environment for our children”
  • Garden City Superintendent – “People who come into our schools, they can’t come in without being checked…But for polling, you don’t have any of that.  Anybody can come in.”
  • Head of Nassau County Council of School Superintendents – “We’ve all put policies and procedures in place that drastically limit anyone from entering the school building during the school day, so an election completely contradicts that.”
  • Suffolk County elections commissioner – if districts had “moved their own elections out of their schools, it would have shown an increased level of sincerity about the argument that was being presented.”
  • One of Nassau County elections commissioner – stated in May, the North Shore School District, “have been fine with using their schools as polling sites as we do every year.  In fact they have returned their polling place agreements well in advance of the deadline.”

Relevant information

Polling Place During School Lockdown

School Districts Taking Action on Long Island

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!