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BALLSTON SPA: Kids have their say

Taxpaying residents weren't the only people who voted on the Ballston Spa Central School District budget on May 15. In conjunction with that vote, the district held KIDS VOTE, in which school children are asked to cast votes on a variety of separate issues.

In its third year, the KIDS VOTE program saw 430 students turn out to offer their opinions on a variety of topics. Questions were divided between grade levels. Kindergarten through second grade chose which one of four ties their school principal, Joseph Lopez, would wear the day after the vote. The other question was about their favorite school subject. Reading was the easy winner, with 108 votes over math with 67.

Intermediate grade students (third through fifth) were asked which school subject was their best one. Math got its revenge this time, with 67 students choosing it. Reading was second with 45 votes; science got 24 and only 14 chose social studies as their best subject. Asked for their favorite season, summer garnered a whopping 91 votes. The students were also asked to identify one of four options for the activity they participate in most. Playing outside at home earned 62 votes; community sports teams earned 44; an after school physical fitness program or sport came in with 27 votes; and only 15 votes listed school recess as the activity they participated in most.

The high school students answered similar questions, with science and social studies tying for their best school subject and outdoor activities at home as the activity in which they participate most. Their third question asked whether the hallways and building are too crowded. Thirty-five students said yes, while only two said no.

Middle school students voted on whether access classes (time when students can go to different rooms to use different resources) should be replaced by more humanities classes (no, 35-18); whether more options in course selections should be offered at the middle school (yes, 48-6); whether class periods should be less than 60 minutes (no 28-25); and issues related to school safety.

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