Update (3:56 p.m.) The Assembly has passed the amended bill.

The state Senate has passed legislation to move Buffalo Public School Board elections from May to November.

A coalition of parents, community leaders, clergy and business owners in the city have been pushing for the measure for years. They believe  holding the election on the same day as the general election will save the local board of elections money and increase what has historically been low voter turnout.

State Senate sponsor Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, said school board is perhaps the most important election for the community.

“The voter turnout in May has been abysmal, embarrassing. This year with unprecedented attention being paid to the Buffalo School Board, 16 people running for Buffalo School Board, at-large seats giving everybody a reason to come out to vote, 6.6 percent of the electorate decided to take part,” Kennedy said during his floor remarks. “That is unfortunate. That needs to change.”

The Assembly has already passed the measure but due to a technical amendment will need to vote again. Language was clarified to make clear current board members will be able to serve out their terms.

The Buffalo Teachers Federation and NYSUT opposed the bill, arguing it unfairly targets the city and that even though turnout is low in May, it is passionate and educated people who come out to vote. Both Syracuse and Rochester hold their elections in November.

If the Assembly does pass the bill again, the governor still needs to sign it.