Voters in the Red Hook School District went to the polls May 20 facing a busy ballot that included the budget, a bus proposition, two school board seats and two library funding increases.
The $49,539,447 budget, with its tax increase of 2.02 percent, passed 1051-440 and the transportation proposition was approved by a 1045-475 margin.
The libraries also enjoyed overwhelming support from the voters. The $70,000 increase for the Red Hook Public Library was approved 1022 to 478, and the $55,000 increase for the Tivoli Free Library also passed, 946 to 428.
With four candidates vying for two school board seats, voters re-elected Ryan McCann with 814 votes and Dawn Morrison with 630 votes. This will be McCann’s and Morrison’s second three-year term each. Runners-up Maggie Rothwell and Helvia Tauselt received 563 and 460 votes, respectively.
The weather on May 20 cooperated and the voting in the Mill Road Elementary School gym was brisk. According to district clerk Elena Maskell, “A lot of people voted and it was very busy.”
Last year’s problems with the old lever machines did not recur and the results were known within an hour of the polls closing at 9pm.
“I’m very pleased and it was a very good margin for us,” Superintendent Paul Finch told the Observer, “Red Hook voters recognize the value of having a strong public school.”
Morrison and McCann were both looking forward to their second terms.
“I’m excited because when you invest those first three years, you’re kind of learning everything,” Morrison said. “I feel you’ll be more effective your second term and you can jump right in.”
“It’s been great working with Dawn and the other board members,” said McCann, adding, “There are so many things you have to learn, and you have to be aware of so many issues, so it’s quite a learning curve.”
Both Morrison and McCann agreed that the most important issues facing them in the upcoming year are the veteran’s exemption and Common Core.
“We’ve been fortunate [budget-wise]: we had declining enrollment and teacher retirements,” said Morrison. “But three years from now, those financial savings are not going to be there.”