Low turnout unfortunate

About 750 people turned out to vote in the Gloversville Enlarged School District budget vote and school board elections Tuesday. About 300 turned out for voting in the Mayfield Central School District, and approximately 800 voted at Fonda-Fultonville. Low turnout numbers were common among school districts throughout the area.

The numbers, which were down in those districts from the previous year, are no surprise. Last year, Fonda-Fultonville had about 1,390 voters, Gloversville had about 960, and Mayfield saw about 605.

School elections typically don’t attract a lot of voter attention, and that’s unfortunate. Schools are a major focus of our small communities. The school budgets and the decisions made by Board of Education members can affect the futures of local children and the financial stability of taxpayers. School board members decide policies, the hiring of critical teachers and administrators, many of the academic, sports and extracurricular programs, and the level of proposed taxation.

Despite all that, school district residents tend to take the annual budget vote and board elections lightly. Some residents who own no property may not be concerned about the taxes. Some who have no children in school may not have strong feelings about programs. Some people have no enthusiasm for voting in any elections and simply choose to disregard them.

And there are those who never vote but always complain. We have little patience for them. If they don’t want to participate in the voting process, they should keep their complaints to a minimum.

We would hope those who pay no property taxes or have no children in school still would have an interest in the welfare of their community. The quality of the schools and the burden on taxpayers have an effect on the community. All school district residents can be affected by the voting in some way.

We salute the 750 people in Gloversville, 300 in Mayfield and 800 in Fonda and Fultonville, along with those in other local school districts who spent a few minutes voting Tuesday. They carried out a civic duty and showed they cared.