Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

February 11, 2013

Exit poll shows school support

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NEWFANE –– An exit poll voters took last year seems to indicate the public supports the Newfane School District, but residents still have some concerns.

Board of Education members reviewed the exit poll results at Tuesday’s meeting. Trustee Michele Malone shared the results with members

For the May 2012 budget vote Newfane had 1,097 residents come out and cast a ballot. There were 327 who took the exit poll, just under 30 percent of the total voters.

That’s a typical ratio for exit polls, Malone said.

The poll asked for the reason why people voted the way they did. The highest answer was “I believe in supporting our schools,” which came in with 167 votes. “ Quality of our schools is worth the cost” was the second highest with 147 votes, “I am satisfied with the quality of our schools,” was the next highest with 130. “Spending/tax increase is reasonable” was the next highest 114 votes.

Malone mentioned 13 people voted they lacked confidence in the Board of Education and the district administration.

”To me that’s a trust issue,” Malone said.

The poll asked voters what percentage of a tax increase would they find acceptable. The highest total votes went to “enough to maintain current program” with 118 votes, followed by the tax levy cap with 80 votes.

No increase was next with 15 votes and other didn’t receive any votes.

Another item voters were asked was where they received their information on the budget. From a variety of answers, the most popular was through teachers and district employees, with seven votes. The next highest was a tie with four votes, the district website or online research and presentations by Superintendent Christine J. Tibbetts.

In May 2012, Newfane’s $32.9 million budget was approved by a 610 to 487 vote. Malone said according to the exit poll, those who voted yes on the budget seemed to be satisfied with the quality of the district.

But the yes voters had concerns. Some of the comments included “unsure of what’s in the budget” and “put more info on website including public opinion survey.” Education and extracurriculars are most important, voters said. 

Those who voted no on the budget are concerned about the cost of maintaining programs and taxes. Some of the comments made suggested Newfane could cut more from the budget, get concessions from teachers and start spending reserves.

The district is planning to offer another exit poll for this year’s budget vote.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.