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Mineola Schools Could Decrease Its Polling Places

Cost saving, impending scanner machine requirement could see one or two polling places for school elections

With the advent of the new scanner voting machines that roll into every polling place during election season, schools and villages are running out of time using the old lever machines. 

Since 2010, Mineola and neighboring villages were granted a reprieve from the state through the intervention of Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and Senator Jack Martins, They are allowed to use the old voting units in local elections.

But in 2015, the archaic but reliable lever contraptions will go the way of the dodo bird and the new electronic machines will become a required use. The Mineola School District is attempting to get out ahead of the fray concerning the first use of scanner ballot machines in its polling places.

Mineola may reduce its polling places from four to two; and possibly one. The current polling places are the Jackson Avenue School, Hampton Street School, Meadow Drive School and the American Legion Hall on Willis Avenue. District Superintendent Michael Nagler recommended that Meadow Drive and Jackson Avenue serve as the two district polling places should Mineola consolidate.

If the school board adopts Nagler’s recommendation, Mineola and Garden City Park residents would vote at Jackson Avenue. Albertson, Roslyn Heights and Williston Park residents would trek to Meadow Drive.

The district has not made a decision, according to board of education President William Hornberger. Trustee Artie Barnett suggested the district use one polling place.

“I thought that it would probably be best to go to one [location] while we can still use the lever machines,” Barnett stated. “If that is inadequate because of space, we would still be able to use the levers and the following May, we could increase to two at that point if needed. I’d like to know if one or two could work before we’re mandated to go to the electronic machines.”

If the district went to one location,  Mineola Village Hall on Washington Avenue could fill the void. District representatives did not confirm that idea.

“[The village] has a big parking lot there and they are able to handle the village voting and stuff like that,” Vice President Terence Hale said. “There’s still a lot to discuss. We’re still in the investigative stage right now. There will definitely be two for the next [school elections].”

Mineola spent $4,567 on election personnel in 2011 and $4,015 in 2012, with a total election budget of $6,715. The projected 2013 election budget is $7,115.

“I think the less locations we have, the less personnel we need and it’s going to offset a lot of the costs we’re going to be stuck with on mandates,” said Barnett.

Machine rental and transport totaled $1,200 each last year. With the scanner machines, that amount would increase to $1,600.

“I kind of agree with Artie in that lets see if we can handle one site,” said Hale.

Nagler stated in the last few school elections, Mineola had a “tough time” getting polling workers. The hourly rate per Election Day worker may increase, according to Nagler. If Mineola does use the new scanner machines, all employees would need to be retrained.

 “It’s the boards decision [to reduce polling places], said Nagler. “You can do either [one or two]. It’s just the logistics of what [the board] decides. We’re an odd-shaped district. We have a lot of people traveling from north that are going to come down, but it’s a matter of convenience and cost. We still want people to vote.”

The sticking point in Hornberger’s assessment is using one location as  the centerpiece for thousands of residents attempting to vote. 

“From my mind, the concern would be location,” Hornberger said. “Can we handle a couple thousand voters coming out from parking logisitics? You can attempt to go to one and see what happens, but my concern would still be, could one handle it?”

News

Way before Home Depot or Ace Hardware came into existence, there were little mom-and-pop shops like Munder’s True Value on Hillside Avenue in Williston Park. The hardware store, which opened its doors in 1948, is somewhat of a suburban dinosaur having outlasted several other hardware stores in the area.

 

“My father, Charles, opened this store in 1948 after returning home from World War II,” said Bill Munder, who took over the store operation seven years ago. “His parents wanted to know his plans after he returned home from the marines and he decided to open this store on Hillside Avenue.”

The debate over New York State Common Core standards continues, with students from the Mineola School District showing a mild resistance to the exams.

 

According to the New York State Allies for Public Education, Mineola had some of the lowest numbers, with eight students opting out of the English Language Arts test. However, not a single Mineola student missed the math test. In East Williston, the opt out rates were 75 students in ELA and 60 in math.


Sports

The New York Cosmos hosted the Mineola Athletic Association’s Soccer Club recently for its penultimate fall 2014 home game. More than 140 members of the MAA soccer club and their families came out on a chilly October evening to show their love of the game. Twenty-two Mineola boys and girls had the honor of escorting the New York Cosmos and Ottawa Fury players onto the field in the traditional “Walk of Champions.”

 

The Mineola spirit must have inspired the home team, as spectators enjoyed the exciting 2-1 Cosmos victory, with the game-winning goal coming in stoppage time.


As a current member of the Mineola High School Varsity Soccer team, senior, Catherine Cunningham has been dominating the scoring for the Mustangs.  She has 12 goals and two assists in the last seven games. 

 

In her last week of play alone, she amassed six goals in just three games. As a captain for the last two years, Cunningham has been an All-Conference and All-Class player, leading her team to two victories so far this season. 


Calendar

Exercise Class - October 22

International Night - October 23

Village Halloween Party - October 24


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