The school board needs to expand in size. The workload is too heavy, and the consequences of board decisions are too important to be left to only five individuals.

Additional school board candidates in Hornell

The Hornell School Board needs reinforcements, but whether or not the community will step up to the challenge is an unanswered question. First, it was disappointing to see just one candidate come forward for this month's school board race. Don't get us wrong, Jessica Hess is an experienced public school teacher with a strong connection to the Maple City. She is a Hornell High School graduate who has two children enrolled in the district. Hess certainly seems qualified to serve on the school board, but it would benefit the district to have at least two candidates vying for the seat. Competitive races benefit the district because differing viewpoints are often aired, important issues get discussed and the winning candidate takes office with a true mandate from voters. The public may need a reminder: school board service is voluntary. Nobody makes a penny. The hours are long and gratitude is minimal. But distressing for Hornell is the knowledge that smaller communities are fielding more candidates.

Increase the size of the school board

Speaking of reinforcements, voters on May 19 will decide whether to increase the size of the city school board from five to seven. This begs the question: will there be enough volunteers to fill a seven-seat board? The school board needs to expand in size. The workload is too heavy, and the consequences of board decisions are too important to be left to only five individuals. Wellsville, for example, has a nine-member board. The Hornell School Board will be more effective with seven members. Voters should pass this proposition. Nevertheless, the great unknown persists: Will a few more community members step forward and agree to serve?

Change the presidential primaries

It's almost that time again. The suitcases are packed. The campaign buses are outfitted. The plane tickets are in hand and the campaign consultants have picked sides and come on-board. The vast majority of people in the greatest republic in the history of the world are embarking on their quadrennial exercise in futility: standing on the sidelines while two insignificant states — Iowa and New Hampshire, with a combined population of 4.3 million (that's just a little more than Los Angeles) — select the two major party candidates for president. Every four years, political leaders (outside those two spoiled states) complain about the folly of assigning so much responsibility to so few people, and every four years nothing is done. Voters in say, New York, or California, or Arizona, or Colorado, are disenfranchised during the presidential primaries because they vote so late in the process. Every four years, the Iowa caucuses come first, followed by the New Hampshire primary. The consequences are significant, with candidates dropping out of the race because of poor showings in Iowa. Meanwhile, a candidate who wins in Iowa, or in New Hampshire a week or so later, is propelled to the front of the pack, after charming just a handful of voters. It's long past time to shuffle the primary deck. How about this order: New York, followed by Florida, followed by Missouri? It works for us.

— Neal Simon