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Split Board OKs November School Election

Haas, Kinst vote to keep elections in April.

The annual spring school elections are a thing of the past...for at least the next four years, after the Hillsborough Board of Education approved a resolution on a 6-2 vote to hold school board elections in November at Monday's meeting.

Board President Thomas Kinst and member Judith Haas voted against the change, citing the importance of having voters weigh in on annual budgets.

"I trust the voters and respect their votes," Kinst said, after acknowledging "valid reasons" to support both sides of the issue. "For me, having accountability at the local level is important."

He added he believed it's important voters weigh in on the budgets that affect 75 percent of their property tax bills. 

Haas, noting she's been involved in budget defeats both as a board member and as township administrator, said she felt the voting as still important.

"The bottom line is whether or not people show up, it's up to them," she said.

But the remaining members said the advantages of moving the election weighed too heavily.

"I think my heart tells me to keep the election in April but the facts don't point that way," member Greg Gillette said.

Board member Thuy Anh Le noted the impacts of past failed budgets have stymied board progress. She also pointed out the security risk of multiple elections in schools can be reduced.

Resident Jennfer Dowd, of Fieldhedge Drive, spoke passionately against the change, charging voting to change the election would "debase" the public's support for the board.

"We need more time to consider this as a community," she said. "We can do this together, but you need your citizens—don't take away our right to vote."

After the vote, Kinst noted the change wasn't permanent.

"It's Jan. 28...so we can vote on this again in four years," he said.

This article was edited to add the full vote of the board. 

PatchFan January 29, 2013 at 02:54 PM
The headline states that the change was narrowly approved. However, the story only makes mention of four of the nine board members. It's clearly stated the Kinst and Haas voted no and eluded to that Gillette and Le voted yes. What about the others?
Yafos Bengueri January 29, 2013 at 03:56 PM
Right...why was the article written without those pertinent parts of the story?
Jennifer Dowd January 29, 2013 at 04:25 PM
I know everyone is busy, but I wish you guys were there last night to talk and ask questions. Some board members came straight out and said that they didn't trust the public to make decisions about the budget. Others blamed voters for the move citing that only 7% turned out at the last election to vote. They interpreted voter turnout as an indicator that we are in favor of disenfranchising ourself of our vote. These are people who only received 1000 votes (or less sometimes) who say they represent us. If you are interested in moving towards schools and communities that work together towards increased financial savings, increased student access to authentic learning opportunities, and thriving local systems then please contact me.
Nerak January 30, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Being on the "public" side, I dont trust the Board to make proper decisions about the budget. Lets keep wasting money on "stuff" to put it nicely and attempt to cut staff and salaries. Living in Hillsborough for over 30 years has show me that my taxes go up and the schools go down. I was lucky my kids got out before it is at the disappointing state it is at now. The schools were the main reason we moved here but I would never choose Hillsborough now, which seems to be opinion of everyone I know. We are now riddled with misleading information, staff working in fear, and in some cases discusting information being withheld from the public. Go Boro!
S.G. January 30, 2013 at 04:16 PM
Having the school board elections held in conjunction with the November elections will mean more voter participation, which is a good thing..Right? The BOE elections were generally held at the schools with the polls opening at 2 p.m., making voting more convenient for family members picking up kids and impossible for voters who work afternoon shifts.

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