Hamilton trustees spoil parent committee’s ballot initiative

News Apr 30, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The chair of the Hamilton public school board’s parent involvement committee says he’s disappointed he was never given the chance to explain a recommendation that schools no longer serve as election polling stations before trustees rejected it.

Kevin Baglole sat in the public gallery on Monday as trustees debated his committee’s call for polling stations to be moved to other locations or for elections to be held on weekends.

He said his advisory committee of parent volunteers raised concerns about student safety after an attempted kidnapping of a youngster at Earl Kitchener School last fall.

While the school wasn’t a polling station at the time, Baglole said the existing approach of letting voters walk through school yards and into school hallways during elections compromises student safety.

He said at Billy Green in Stoney Creek, where his children go, the school simply placed pylons outside to delineate where voters and students were allowed.

“For safe schools, we’ve locked the doors. Parents can’t even get in,” Baglole said. “We’ve spent millions of dollars on safety and now all of a sudden one day we just throw the doors open. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

But west Mountain trustee Wes Hicks said voter access to schools is limited because most polling stations are held in the gym, and it’s up to principals and superintendents to ensure safety isn’t compromised.

Although the board doesn’t have the legal jurisdiction to do so, no longer allowing schools to serve as polling stations would set a bad example for students and contradict efforts to make schools community hubs, he said.

“I really believe that it’s a terrific learning situation for the kids to see it happening,” Hicks said. “The voter turnout for younger people is awful, very low, and I think this is one way that we can encourage (them) at that level.”

However, Stoney Creek trustee Jeff Beattie, who cast one of two votes against Hicks’s motion to take no action on the committee’s recommendation, said safety will continue to be an issue, especially with the push to make schools community hubs.

“I don’t think this is a conversation that is going to go away,” he said. “We have security issues that we have to address.”

Board chair Todd White said trustees are set to review their elections protocol policy this fall, giving the parent involvement committee and others the chance to raise safety concerns then. But he said he’s not sure the broader community would support moving elections to weekends even if the board had the power to do so, which it doesn’t.

“It is our responsibility to address safety, whether or not we have the ability to approve polling stations or not,” he said.

Hamilton trustees spoil parent committee’s ballot initiative

News Apr 30, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The chair of the Hamilton public school board’s parent involvement committee says he’s disappointed he was never given the chance to explain a recommendation that schools no longer serve as election polling stations before trustees rejected it.

Kevin Baglole sat in the public gallery on Monday as trustees debated his committee’s call for polling stations to be moved to other locations or for elections to be held on weekends.

He said his advisory committee of parent volunteers raised concerns about student safety after an attempted kidnapping of a youngster at Earl Kitchener School last fall.

While the school wasn’t a polling station at the time, Baglole said the existing approach of letting voters walk through school yards and into school hallways during elections compromises student safety.

“We’ve spent millions of dollars on safety and now all of a sudden one day we just throw the doors open. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

He said at Billy Green in Stoney Creek, where his children go, the school simply placed pylons outside to delineate where voters and students were allowed.

“For safe schools, we’ve locked the doors. Parents can’t even get in,” Baglole said. “We’ve spent millions of dollars on safety and now all of a sudden one day we just throw the doors open. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

But west Mountain trustee Wes Hicks said voter access to schools is limited because most polling stations are held in the gym, and it’s up to principals and superintendents to ensure safety isn’t compromised.

Although the board doesn’t have the legal jurisdiction to do so, no longer allowing schools to serve as polling stations would set a bad example for students and contradict efforts to make schools community hubs, he said.

“I really believe that it’s a terrific learning situation for the kids to see it happening,” Hicks said. “The voter turnout for younger people is awful, very low, and I think this is one way that we can encourage (them) at that level.”

However, Stoney Creek trustee Jeff Beattie, who cast one of two votes against Hicks’s motion to take no action on the committee’s recommendation, said safety will continue to be an issue, especially with the push to make schools community hubs.

“I don’t think this is a conversation that is going to go away,” he said. “We have security issues that we have to address.”

Board chair Todd White said trustees are set to review their elections protocol policy this fall, giving the parent involvement committee and others the chance to raise safety concerns then. But he said he’s not sure the broader community would support moving elections to weekends even if the board had the power to do so, which it doesn’t.

“It is our responsibility to address safety, whether or not we have the ability to approve polling stations or not,” he said.

Hamilton trustees spoil parent committee’s ballot initiative

News Apr 30, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The chair of the Hamilton public school board’s parent involvement committee says he’s disappointed he was never given the chance to explain a recommendation that schools no longer serve as election polling stations before trustees rejected it.

Kevin Baglole sat in the public gallery on Monday as trustees debated his committee’s call for polling stations to be moved to other locations or for elections to be held on weekends.

He said his advisory committee of parent volunteers raised concerns about student safety after an attempted kidnapping of a youngster at Earl Kitchener School last fall.

While the school wasn’t a polling station at the time, Baglole said the existing approach of letting voters walk through school yards and into school hallways during elections compromises student safety.

“We’ve spent millions of dollars on safety and now all of a sudden one day we just throw the doors open. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

He said at Billy Green in Stoney Creek, where his children go, the school simply placed pylons outside to delineate where voters and students were allowed.

“For safe schools, we’ve locked the doors. Parents can’t even get in,” Baglole said. “We’ve spent millions of dollars on safety and now all of a sudden one day we just throw the doors open. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

But west Mountain trustee Wes Hicks said voter access to schools is limited because most polling stations are held in the gym, and it’s up to principals and superintendents to ensure safety isn’t compromised.

Although the board doesn’t have the legal jurisdiction to do so, no longer allowing schools to serve as polling stations would set a bad example for students and contradict efforts to make schools community hubs, he said.

“I really believe that it’s a terrific learning situation for the kids to see it happening,” Hicks said. “The voter turnout for younger people is awful, very low, and I think this is one way that we can encourage (them) at that level.”

However, Stoney Creek trustee Jeff Beattie, who cast one of two votes against Hicks’s motion to take no action on the committee’s recommendation, said safety will continue to be an issue, especially with the push to make schools community hubs.

“I don’t think this is a conversation that is going to go away,” he said. “We have security issues that we have to address.”

Board chair Todd White said trustees are set to review their elections protocol policy this fall, giving the parent involvement committee and others the chance to raise safety concerns then. But he said he’s not sure the broader community would support moving elections to weekends even if the board had the power to do so, which it doesn’t.

“It is our responsibility to address safety, whether or not we have the ability to approve polling stations or not,” he said.