Kingston school budget passes; incumbents re-elected

Headshots of the five candidates

Those with a maroon background were elected. Clockwise from top: Robin Jacobowitz, Herb Lamb and James Shaughnessy.

Voters in the Kingston City School District approved a $195.98 million budget by a margin of 2,124-648. They also reelected three incumbents to the Board of Education over a pair of challengers. 

The budget won the approval of a majority of the voters at all seven elementary schools, as did incumbent trustee Robin Jacobowitz, who was reelected with 2,182 votes. Board President James Shaughnessy (1,901) and Herb Lamb (1,729) were also reelected easily. Michele Milgrim (1,113) and Matthew Branford (986) did not receive enough votes to join the board, though they came in second (357) and third (337) respectively in votes tallied at Robert R. Graves Elementary. 

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The budget is an increase of 4.57 percent, or $8.56 million, over the 2020-21 spending plan, but the tax levy will remain unchanged at $107.42 million. 

“It was nice to see the budget pass that way,” said Superintendent Paul Padalino. “And this has been really the first real challenge in the board election, so it was nice to see the incumbents get that vote of confidence in what we’ve been doing.

“I think it’s an affirmation of the efforts of the School Board and the school district, especially coming through the last 18 months,” Padalino said. “ There’s still a lot we need to do, and there’s a lot of changes to be made. And we need to learn from not only the academic issues, but also the social issues our county has faced.”

Padalino said the current School Board, including the three incumbent winners, is in a good position to meet those challenges. 

“It’s important to know that the relationships we’ve built, the work that we’ve done to implement programs are still there,” Padalino said. “There’s an underestimation of the amount of work done between the administration and the Board members…there’s a lot of work behind the scenes.”