Camp Hill School District’s board is considering asking the county Board of Elections to drop a high school classroom from its list of official polling sites, superintendent David Reeder said Monday.
He said the consideration comes in light of recent national incidents such as the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon and the killing late last year of 20 school children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
The Camp Hill High School band room is one of five polling places for primary and general elections in Camp Hill. The others are the Cleve J. Fredricksen Public Library, Camp Hill Borough Building, Camp Hill Church of Christ and the Fred and Mae Fiala Memorial Community Building.
Camp Hill School District classes are in session on election days.
“This has been an issue in the region from a variety of school districts,” Reeder said at a meeting of the district board. “We’re looking at safety protocols, in light of national incidents that have taken place. We are looking for ways to tighten up security wherever we can.”
The superintendent said polling places offer security concerns for school districts. “You have people coming in and out throughout the day,” he said.
“Our board is very good at examining all decisions, and what’s in the best interest of the student,” Reeder said.
The board has not acted on resolution which would be part of Camp Hill School District’s presentation to the county’s election board suggesting the polling site be moved off school property.
Most likely, if the board approves such a resolution at its May meeting, the school district would have to compile information for the Cumberland County Board of Elections approval. If the school board votes to allow the high school band room remain a polling place, other steps for security could be addressed.
“Our sole purpose in taking a look at this is the safety of students and faculty,” Reeder said. “Any security put in place would have to work in conjunction with local government. We haven’t examined overt security. It’s relatively cost-neutral.”
Penny Brown, director of elections and voter registration for Cumberland County, said the board would have to present their information to the Cumberland County commissioners. The elections code says “schoolhouses” are permissible public property buildings that can be used to conduct voting for elections.
Other school districts in the area, including East Pennsboro, are expected to present similar cases to the Board of Elections.
A change in polling places, if approved, would not take effect until May 2014. Polling places are subject to relocation only during an emergency or construction between a primary and a general election, otherwise, they are to remain in the same locations throughout the year.
Brown acknowledged that she has talked to Camp Hill School District’s business administrator about the polling place location resolution.
“Depending on what they put in their presentation to the board of elections, I would immediately begin looking for another polling place,” Brown said. “We have permission to use their high school band room for May and November. What they intend to do after November, I don’t have the answer to that.”