New Paltz voters OK $52.2M school budget, $500K safety project

Max Maurer, Julie Tresco and Tim Rogers. (photos by Lauren Thomas)

Max Maurer, Julie Tresco and Tim Rogers. (photos by Lauren Thomas)

New Paltz’s $52.2 million school budget passed handily, nabbing almost 70 percent voter approval  tonight. A second proposition asking voters if they’d support using $500,000 from the capital reserve funds to help pay for needed repairs to district’s four school buildings also passed.

On the budget, 1,316 voters said yes and 579 said no. That 69.45 percent approval is well beyond the 50 percent required under the state tax cap law.

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For the school safety proposal, 1,227 voters said yes and 620 said no. It passed with 66.4 percent approval.

This year’s race for school board for two open seats was fielded by three candidates. Voters elected Town of New Paltz Planning Board member Tim Rogers and Julie Tresco, of Esopus, to the Board of Education.

For board members, the votes broke down this way: Rogers got 1,100 votes, Tresco got 1,098 and their rival Max Maurer, of Gardiner, got 746 votes.

Tresco had run for the board last year, but ultimately failed to pick up enough votes in a crowded, six-person race. She said she was glad for the support the community gave her this year, and she was pleased the community approved the school budget and the $500,000 proposition.

“I’m excited,” she said, “and I’m looking forward to starting my term.”

Tim Rogers will be sworn in this week as the highest vote getter. He’s replacing Rod Dressel, who was an appointee filling out Bob Rich’s term. In July, Rogers and Tresco will be sworn into their full terms, which will last until 2016.

Superintendent Maria Rice said she was thrilled with the results and looked forward to working with the two new Board of Education members.

“I just think that we have a very generous and dedicated community to our educational system,” Rice said. “And I thank them for not just passing the budget, but also our capital project – though not large – which will address some of our security and safety needs.”

District officials will use that $500,000 in capital reserve funding, in part, to respond to the school safety climate post Sandy Hook. Some of that money will go to install security buzz-in systems at the front doors of Lenape Elementary School and New Paltz Middle School. The rest is going to needed repairs at the buildings.

A total of 1,932 voters cast a ballot in this year’s school election.

All told, New Paltz Central School District did not have as dramatic a budget vote as it did in 2012. Last year, the Board of Education decided to ask voters if they’d like to exceed the state tax cap. They ended up missing their needed 60 percent supermajority by a scant 18 votes. Ultimately, voters approved a lesser $50.47 million 2012-2013 budget in a second vote that June.

This year’s budget, by contrast, complies with the requirements of the cap. The $52.2 million spending plan will raise the tax levy by 4.4 percent – New Paltz’s legal limit under state law.

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