New Paltz school budget passes; Thompson & Cournoyer elected to school board

On Tuesday, voters in the New Paltz Central School District approved a $64,940,103 budget for the 2020-21 school year with 73 percent of the vote (2,374-887) and elected Teresa Migliozzi Thompson and Brian Cournoyer to the Board of Education. With voters having to mail in or drop off ballots due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the turnout was nearly three times greater than last year, when the 2019-20 budget passed 782-320. 

The budget includes a tax levy increase of 2.20 percent, or $979,370, which is below the state tax cap of 2.84 percent for the district. The district’s state aid is anticipated to rise by $677,234 to $16,702,533, though aid reductions during the school year are possible depending upon the severity of the lasting financial impact of COVID-19. 

The Board of Education discussed the results during a Wednesday, June 17 meeting streamed on YouTube with all present checking in from elsewhere. 

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“I just want to say thank you to the community,” said Teresa Migliozzi Thompson, a trustee who held on to her seat with 2,033 votes. “It’s rewarding to be a board member in a community that loves New Paltz and our schools so much…So happy that it passed.”

Fellow trustee Sophia Skiles also expressed gratitude for the budget passing. 

“Thank you to the community for moving us through that budget,” said Skiles. 

As the highest vote getter with 2,040 votes,  Brian Cournoyer was appointed to the School Board during Wednesday’s meeting. Cournoyer will fill a vacancy left when then-board president Kathy Preston resigned in February of this year for personal reasons. Losing his bid for a seat on the board was Edgar Rodriguez with 1,314 votes. There were also 63 unnamed write-in votes in the election results. 

The School Board bid farewell to Interim Superintendent Bernard Josefsberg, who steps down after serving in the role for much of 2020. Last month, the district hired Angela Urbina-Medina as its full-time superintendent beginning in the 2020-21 school year. 

The next meeting of the New Paltz Board of Education is scheduled for Wednesday, July 8.