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Palm Beach County School District cancels classes for Election Day

Says safety is a top concern
Posted: 5:06 PM, Aug 01, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-01 23:55:05Z

UPDATE: Palm Beach County Schools will be closed on Tuesday, August 28, after the School Board voted to revise the 2018-2019 school calendar.

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ORIGINAL STORY:

Wednesday night the Palm Beach County School Board is expected to vote on whether Election Day and the primaries should be a teacher workday instead of regularly scheduled class time.

“I come from New York and in New York we always had Election Day off,” said Palm Beach Gardens High School teacher Ed Gigante.

However, in South Florida, students often times share their campus with voters on Election Day.

“I don’t feel threatened when they are there, but I do feel having anybody on campus especially now days is always a threat. So if you can keep them off campus that’s even better,” said Gigante.

The Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office said it had no other choice but to rely on schools as polling locations.

“Here in Palm Beach County we use about 118 schools and we have no other places in certain territories to establish polling locations,” said elections supervisor Susan Bucher.

Bucher is now pushing the school board to give students the day off.

“You know my concerns with security and traffic in the past are exponentially greater this year,” said Bucher.

Bucher said she’s focused on getting people out to the polls, but after the Parkland school shooting, she’s just as worried about kids' safety.

“I’ve requested not only November 6th the general election but also August 28th, the primary election,” said Bucher.

However, some teachers in Palm Beach County have taken to social media to express their concerns about the switch.

One teacher wrote: “Teachers would also need off. Childcare is too hard to find and too expensive.”

Some worry about having to make up two days of missed instruction, especially if a hurricane day is needed.

Another teacher said on Facebook: “We will have JUST started. Plus we have THREE 4day weeks in September. When is the makeup day gonna be?

The vote is expected to happen Wednesday night at the Palm Beach County School Board meeting.