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District may reduce polling sites

The Frontier School District -- long accustomed to having six polling sites for voting each year -- is thinking of halving that number to trim costs.

School Board member Jack Chiappone talked it up Tuesday as an idea that merits further study to save the district money.

Chiappone is pushing for the district to use three polling sites.

In 2005, an informal exit survey asked voters about the idea of changing to one polling location. The idea drew mixed reaction.

The board informally agreed to have Chiappone work with the administration to more closely evaluate his idea.

To run polls at all of its sites, the district faced costs of a little more than $21,000 each in 2005 and 2006, while costs for 2007-08 increased to $24,134 and they totaled $26,588 for 2008-09, according to figures from the district. Legal advertising costs were blamed for the bulk of the total tab in running the elections.

Superintendent Ronald G. DeCarli estimated that the district could save approximately $7,500 to $10,000 by going to one polling site. The district faces legal advertising costs for each polling district when there are multiple polling sites. It could save about $3,000 per polling district by cutting back, said Richard Binner, business administrator.

Board member Michael Comerford said he would be opposed to one site because it would add time and transportation costs for district residents.
Board Vice President Stanley Figiel said the board could decide the matter without putting it up to the voters, or it could place it on the ballot. The board is looking to make a recommendation in the next few months.

In another matter, the board and administration praised Big Tree Elementary School for being named late Tuesday as a National Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, as one of 314 schools nationwide to be selected this year. The coveted award was given to 264 public and 50 private schools.

"To say that we are excited is an understatement," DeCarli said.

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins is expected to honor the school at 2 p.m. Monday.

e-mail: krobinson@buffnews.com

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