The issue of school safety in Bullskin Township during the Nov. 6 general election has been resolved.
The Connellsville Area School Board at its September meeting voted to make Nov. 6 an Act 80 day, meaning teachers will report for in-service training while students have the day off.
“Because we can’t find any other place for voting in Bullskin, we felt it was safer to use it as an Act 80 day,” said Francis Mongell, the school board president.
The district had taken the issue before the Fayette County Board of Elections, with no alternative found. Under state law, public schools may be used as polling places. Parents had raised concerns that voters have access to the student restrooms and other areas of Bullskin Elementary School, and didn’t feel that it was safe to have voters and students in the building at the same time.
Larry Blosser, the director of the Fayette County Election Bureau, said he was glad to hear the district was taking an Act 80 day on Election Day.
“That’s one thing that we had suggested to them when they came to the Election Board,” Blosser said.
Blosser said there had been lengthy discussions about various alternative sites, but none were available or suitable.
“It’s a rural area,” Blosser said. “Mt. Carmel Church was suggested, but it’s in Upper Tyrone. I can’t go across township lines.”
Other potential sites were either unavailable or not handicapped accessible, Blosser said.
“We tried to get the polling place moved, but couldn’t get it done,” said Kevin Lape, one of the school directors. “The board as a whole is very diligent about the safety of the children.”
Mongell said the situation will most likely arise for the spring primary as well, so the district should consider planning ahead.