New Paltz voters pass $53.9M budget


Aimee Gertler Hemminger

Aimee Gertler Hemminger

New Paltz voters overwhelmingly supported the district’s $53.9 million school budget during Tuesday night’s election. Altogether, 1,175 voted yes for the budget and 435 voted no.

Voters also authorized the purchase of $485,000 in buses by 1,039 to 458.

Superintendent Maria Rice was celebrating the budget’s approval, noting that it reinforced the district’s strategy of sticking to the state’s 2 percent tax levy limit.


“I’m absolutely pleased,” Rice said. “I think it just speaks volumes about how our community supports education.”

As far as the school board election went, voters seemed to have a strong anti-incumbent sentiment at the polls. Newcomer Aimee Gertler Hemminger came in first with 966 votes, and Steve Greenfield got 853 votes.

Hemminger and Greenfield will serve terms lasting until 2017.

Incumbents Patrick Rausch, a past school board president, and current Board of Education President Stephen Bagley did not win re-election. Rausch got 671 votes, and Bagley got 450.

Rausch has been one of New Paltz’s longest-serving school board members. He’s in his 16th year of board service. He also serves as New Paltz’s representative on the Ulster BOCES board – a role he’ll continue.

Greenfield, who previously served on the board from 2008 to 2011, congratulated the other candidates on the races they’d run. He also thanked voters for placing their trust in him. To him, Hemminger’s and his winning is a sign that voters want an activist Board of Education that will fight against state testing mandates.

“I’m looking forward to setting about the work I started when I began this campaign,” the board member elect said.

Greenfield was pleased that voters approved the budget and bus purchases. “This is good for New Paltz. This is good for the district. This is good for the kids.”