The East Aurora School Board blamed failed communication efforts on the part of the district as well as voter apathy for the near defeat of a $7.8 million capital project last month.
“We didn’t do a job of getting out there and presenting this,” board member Judy Malys said at a special meeting Wednesday.
She suggested the board submit a regular informative column to the town’s weekly newspaper, the same publication where a letter to the editor strongly criticizing both the capital project and the board appeared prior to the vote. Some believed it was a factor in the 216-214 vote.
Board President Daniel Brunson said he “pored over the exit polls” and felt it was important to let the public know that, if the referendum had gone down, the cost of the planned upgrades and repair work needed in all three buildings would have been entirely borne by the taxpayers. However, because the capital project referendum was approved, 70 percent of the costs will be covered by state aid.
Steven Zagrobelny said the board was overly emphasizing the no votes.
“We should be asking: Where were our 600 yes voters that always come out for the budget vote?” he said.
The district’s Policy Committee plans to create a subcommittee to spearhead better ways that the district can communicate with the public and learn how various community members get their information.
Separately, the board mulled over various features of the upcoming project, particularly the security measures that the safety committee, comprised of architects, engineers, first responders and school administrators, offered. However, Brunson found some recommendations controversial.
“We’re treading a path of what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate,” Brunson said, noting he was adamantly opposed to having cameras in the buildings but was convinced by committee members of the importance of viewing hallway intersections, cafeterias and gymnasiums.