After a second vote, the Holland School Board agreed to relocate the polling place for the annual district vote from the high school to the former middle school cafeteria, although the move may be a temporary one.
The change, approved, 5-2, at a special meeting of the board Monday night, originally was proposed by board member Kelleen Kensey last week, only to be struck down, also by a 5-2 vote, as other members expressed concern about the middle school location.
Board member Judy Geer proposed using the Community Center, where municipal votes are held, but the board learned the building is already rented for May 21, the date of the budget vote.
Additionally, Geer expressed concern about safety issues if the vote is moved to the middle school. She said individuals often hand out leaflets at the polling location but are not allowed within a certain distance of the entranceway. She feared it would leave people standing on or near Route 16 and asked for a police presence if the board approved the move to the middle school location.
Board President Steven Marom said the district could not make that stipulation part of the motion. Ronda Strauss said moving the vote to the former middle school building would benefit residents because it would provide ample parking and better handicapped access. Also, the office of District Clerk Linda Poplewski, who tallies the votes, is located there.
Lawrence Krzeminski disagreed with the proposed move, calling it disruptive to the community because plans to close the middle school are under way and it was unlikely the vote would be held at that location the following year.
Taina Armstrong-Hoffman agreed with him. “I don’t think we should bounce back and forth,” she said. Kensey said she favored moving the vote to the former middle school because students are no longer housed there and it offered the least amount of disruption and the safest option for them.
Previously, the annual budget vote has been held in the foyer of the high school on Canada Street.