School Budget and Board Member Elections

It is almost time for residents of school districts to vote on school budgets and potential school board members. It is something we suggest should be taken very seriously and know that your vote does count!

Related to this right you should be aware that because of the excessive level of scandal and corruption in New York State politics there is a push to get recall voting initiated in the State as it is in 19 other States. As reported in the Albany Times Union story on Wednesday, May 8, 2013  by JOSHUA SPIVAK titled ‘Recall is powerful weapon‘:

The proposed law is focused on the state government, though it would provide for localities to adopt the recall provision as their own. Under current law, it is actually not clear if local governments are allowed to hold a recall or if any has ever been held. However, opening up local government to a recall law would be the key provision.

This is due to the fact that while recall has gained famed for its use on the state level — such as the unsuccessful one in Wisconsin last year and the successful one in California in 2003 — it is mainly used against local officials. In 2012, there were at least 168 recalls or resignations in the United States. All but six — all in Wisconsin — took place on the local level. In fact, in the history of the U.S., only 42 state officials, including 36 legislators, have faced recall elections.

For New York, this means that mayors, city council members and school boards are the most likely to face the wrath of the voters. A big part of the reason is that local officials usually require fewer signatures and are less likely to be elected on a partisan basis.

This ties, in turn, into a possible surprising fact about recalls — they are generally started for policy, not partisan, reasons. Despite the fears that they engender partisan hit jobs or grow out of personal animosity, the vast majority of recalls arise from hot button local issues — such as tax increases or zoning decisions. There are numerous examples of personal or partisan recalls, but for the most part, recalls have a solid basis in policy.


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Filed under Education Reform, Parenting

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