JAMESTOWN – Lack of public participation in local politics is not just a Chautauqua County problem. The problem spans most local governments, and even some state governments, nationwide.
In the City of Jamestown, low voter turnout and lack of government participation when it comes to public school elections is evident.
On Wednesday, our crews were at the Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education meeting where the only people in attendance were school officials or members of the media.
Like all schools in New York State Tuesday, the school district held an election for two seats on the school board and a budget vote.
In that election, the budget passed and two incumbents, Nina Karbacka and Daniel Johnson, were voted in for another three-year term.
Just weeks before, the district held a Public Hearing on May 8th but no one from the community showed up.
Karbacka told WNYNewsNow on Wednesday that she hopes the lack of participation is because constituents are pleased with the direction the district is moving in.
“I was thrilled that Mrs. Fadale put her name in the hat to run,” said Karbacka. “I think that is very healthy and I thank her for wanting to do that.”
Meanwhile, in that very same election, the 500 plus people who did turn out to the polls, approved a Student Ex Officio Board of Education Member who will act as a liaison between the district and the student body.
Jamestown Public Schools Board President Paul Abbott said that this position will hopefully get students move involved in local government.
“I hope it gives a realization to all of the students that we are having these meetings, they are open to the public and they are always welcome,” said Abbott.
Abbott believes that having the student member may be more beneficial to the board than the students because it will give them a direct line to the student body.
“It gives us someone who we can speak to get a feel about how things are going in schools, particularly the high school.”
For meeting times and locations, visit the Jamestown Public Schools’s website.