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Frontier School Board mulling whether to pare polling sites to save money

The Frontier Central School District has long had a handful of polling sites to accommodate voters.
But now some in the district are asking whether it can make do with only one.
"One site eliminates extra registration work," board member Larry Albert said. "We're cutting programs and cutting teachers and saving money. This would streamline operations and save money. I think this is an option we really have to look at. This would make it a more efficient process."
Albert reminded the board during a recent meeting of the numerous occasions on election night when results were not known as officials waited for tallies from the many sites.
But the idea of only one polling site did not get a warm reception.
"I never supported this because I did not want to hurt an incumbent board member and some people become upset with change," board President Janet MacGregor Plarr said. "We listen to our public. This is a sticky wicket. We want to save money, but we don't want to tick people off."
"To go from five sites to one [all at once)] I don't think will work. Maybe from five to three," board member Nancy Wood said. "It's too much. People will not come out and vote."
The district operates polls at Blasdell Elementary School, Frontier High School, Woodlawn Fire Hall, Cloverbank Elementary School in Hamburg and Pinehurst Elementary School in Lake View.
District clerk Nancy Racine noted that the district also typically handles more than 200 absentee ballots.
The last time the district estimated cost savings from using one location was in 2009, when it showed a potential $10,000 savings. No estimates have been calculated since, according to Richard Petrus, assistant superintendent for business.
"No one is going to like this because it inconveniences people," said Patrick T. Boyle, a new board member.
Board member Jeremey Rosen worried that fewer people will vote with fewer polling locations. "When it comes to education for my kids, I'd stand in line for 10 hours," said Albert, a retired district teacher. Superintendent James C. Bodziak cautioned the board against "a knee-jerk reaction."
"You will upset some people and please others," he said. "The Board of Education could put a sample questionnaire on the district website to get a feel for our community input."
He also suggested discussing the idea with local organizations to get a sense of whether to put it before the public for a vote.