Make Your Voice Heard: Vote Local On May 16

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With Senate confirmations and the refugee crisis dominating the headlines, local issues are often overlooked. All too often, citizens are more concerned with national issues than local ones when in reality the actions of our local officials are just as—or potentially more—important as those of our President.

A popular slogan for both presidential and local elections is “Your vote counts!” However, this slogan applies more directly to local elections. In local elections, your vote is included in a much smaller pool as compared to national ones when your vote is one out of millions.

Yet, despite the impact every vote has, many registered voters will not show up to the local polls on Tuesday, May 16, to vote for the 2017–18 Proposed School Budget, Revised Bond Referendum and Board of Education trustee candidates. In fact, according to the United Parent-Teacher Council, at the last vote on the 2017 Bond Referendum on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, the vote was close with 1,677 votes against, and 1,564 votes for the bond—a 113 vote difference. But what’s even more interesting is that 89.74 percent of registered voters did not even show up to the polls this February. This percentage was even lower for the 2016 budget vote when 96.4 percent of Great Neck school district voters did not cast their ballot.

Showing up on May 16 to vote is especially important; two Board of Education seats are up for grabs and the $223,311,165 budget is up for approval. It would be a shame for the outcome not to be what the majority wants simply because the majority of voters didn’t show up to vote.

Dr. Teresa Prendergast, superintendent of schools, said, “We remain committed to being a premier school district on Long Island, in the state and in the country. We will continue to deliver an innovative, high-quality education to our students. I’m very grateful to have the support of the community and the board as we make progress toward these shared goals.”

For seniors who recently turned 18 years old, this is most likely your first opportunity to practice your civic duty; don’t miss your chance to have your voice heard. Register at the Office of the District Clerk, Phipps Administration Building, 345 Lakeville Rd., on school days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and make an informed vote on May 16 by viewing the facts and learning more about the Board of Education candidates. You must be registered by May 11 to vote on May 16.

If you will not be able to get to E.M. Baker School or South High School from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16, submit a completed Absentee Ballot to the GNPS District Clerk no later than 5 p.m., on Tuesday, May 16. Applications for Absentee Ballots can be found online or at the Office of the District Clerk on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Learn the facts here: www.greatneck.k12.ny.us/GNPS/Pages/budget.html and www.greatneck.k12.ny.us/GNPS/Pages/bond.html.

Learn more about the candidates here: http://tv.greatneck.k12.ny.us/boe17.html.

Download an Absentee Ballot here: www.greatneck.k12.ny.us/GNPS/Pages/budgetballot.html.

—Isabella Harnick
Great Neck South Student

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