by Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette — Niagara Falls City School District election districts are about to change for many city residents.
Following a December decision by the district’s School Board, which reduced the number of polling locations for all school elections — including budget votes — from 24 to eight, a team of employees has been redrawing the map to find the best possible options.
Together with contractor National Time Sharing Data Services, the team settled on its choice and presented its recommendation to the board Thursday. The board is expected to adopt the new map this week.
“In order to implement the new boundaries, the board needs to do two things,” attorney Angelo Massaro, a member of the team, said Thursday. “We need to change the polling sites and send out notification to the voters of where their new site will be.”
NTS Data Services will handle the duties Massaro described and will charge the district $2,400 plus an additional 12 cents per voter for its services. About 1,600 people voted in 2012, which earns NTS about $200. This is in addition to a contract already in place between the two for $5,250, signed in July, to handle data management concerning elections, including voter history analysis, registration, reporting and technical support.
NTS’s contract is also expected to be approved by the school board next week.
With board approval, the new districts, brought on by a need to meet diminished county Board of Elections machines in future elections, will use only school buildings. Gone are polling locations at spots throughout the city like the John Duke Center and Spallino Towers. The only schools which won’t host voting machines will be the high school and both Cataract and Hyde Park elementaries, due to their close proximity to other buildings.
“We realize the law requires the creation of boundaries, which we’ve done,” District Clerk Ruthel Dumas, another member of the team, said. “NTS is now working to implement these changes. They’ll notify voters of their new polling places.”
Records Specialist John Owens also served on the team.
The board’s next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in the district’s board meeting auditorium, 630 66th St. It is open to the public.Big Red Number $7,650 NTS Data Services cost to the Falls School District plus an additional 12 cents per voter