Shelter Island Reporter Editorial: Why Vote?

JO ANN KIRLAND PHOTO |The Shelter Island Board of Education elections are Tuesday on the proposed $11 million budget and two open seats on the board.

JO ANN KIRLAND PHOTO |The Shelter Island Board of Education elections are Tuesday on the proposed $11 million budget and two open seats on the board.

Why bother? It’s a question many Islanders might be asking about going to the polls next Tuesday to vote on the Shelter Island School District budget and seats on the Board of Education.

The budget comes in under the state-imposed tax cap and few questions have been raised about its contents at the many public hearings that have been held since February.

Two incumbents are leaving the Board of Education and two newcomers are seeking the right to assume those seats, so barring an unexpected write-in campaign, both will be elected.

But Tuesday’s balloting is a vote of confidence. The Board of Education deserves to know that you believe every possible effort has been made to keep spending tight while maintaining programs vital to students.

Two highly qualified candidates — Kathleen Lynch and Susan Binder — have put their names forward, signalling a willingness to assume one of the most difficult jobs in any community.

The work involves a commitment to dedicate many hours to reading materials; participating on subcommittees that take on measures such as district policies and hiring of faculty and staff; and, of course, budgeting.

For their efforts, Board of Ed members receive no compensation and seldom hear from the public unless they are considering some issue of considerable controversy. Few residents attend meetings and it’s anyone’s guess how many take time to view recorded meetings. Most have no idea of the commitment these dedicated people make to guide the district’s work.

Both Ms. Lynch and Ms. Binder have dedicated time to the PTSA and know the district as well as anyone not already sitting on the board. Both are approaching the job with open minds, a willingness to learn and a lack of personal agendas.

Both women recognize this is a board that allows for dissent but never becomes disrespectful of differing opinions and they are willing to take on their roles with the same spirit.

All they ask of the public is a few minutes to come out and vote on Tuesday to let them know you believe in their abilities and appreciate the time they are sacrificing to do work that benefits everyone on the Island.

Polls are open at the school gymnasium from noon to 9 p.m.

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