Holley school officials, citing safety concerns, don’t want school to be polling site

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 22 March 2016 at 12:00 am

HOLLEY – The April 19th New York Presidential Primary is causing some concern for Holley Central School Superintendent Robert D’Angelo.

That’s because the Holley Middle School/High School is the designated polling place for voters in the Town of Murray and D’Angelo asked members of the Holley Central School Board of Education on Monday evening to consider discussing the possibility of the eventual re-location of the polling place with Orleans County Board of Elections officials.

D’Angelo told board members he is a former U.S. history teacher who appreciates the importance of elections and making school buildings available to the community. “But my concern is the safety of the students,” he said.

D’Angelo has added a security officer from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the building on April 19, but he worries, particularly as this year’s presidential campaign heats up on the national level, that the district, “cannot control who comes in those buildings.”

Photo by Kristina Gabalski – Holley Fourth Grade teacher Lynn Vendetti, left, was presented with a Soaring to New Heights Award by Holley Elementary Principal Karri Schiavone during Monday evening’s School Board of Education meeting.

He said he has already scheduled a Superintendent’s Conference/Staff Development Day for the date of the November election, so that students will not be on campus that day.

“I think this election could bring out an enormous amount of people,” D’Angelo said of the upcoming presidential election in the fall. “We want to make sure people in our buildings are safe. We will do the best we can on April 19th, when they hold the primary.”

He noted Holley is the only public school building in Orleans County that is used as a polling place, and added after the board meeting, it may be one of very few, if any, in the region.

School Board President Brenda Swanger and other members of the board noted the meeting room/court room at the Murray Town Hall has benches that are locked in place and cannot be moved to accommodate voting. She said she has spoken with Sheriff Randy Bower and Holley Police Chief Roland Nenni and will meet with officials at the Board of Elections. Swanger said she will report back to the Board of Education in April.

D’Angelo and Swanger noted it is probably too late to change the polling place this year, but hope that the site can be moved in the future.

Also at Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Holley fourth grade teacher Lynn Vendetti was presented with a Soaring to New Heights Award.

Vendetti was nominated by one of her students recently for a “Golden Apple Award” presented by Channel 8 News in Rochester.

Vendetti has worked closely to help the student who has been struggling with attendance issues to improve this year.

Schiavone said the award was “so well-deserved.”

“It’s not just me,” Vendetti said in accepting the award, “I work with a great team and the parents have been so supportive.”