School Budget Passes by Large Margin
Not including absentee ballots, 61.25 percent vote in favor of the proposed budget.
This year's school budget vote was a reversal from last year, with preliminary results showing the budget passed with 1,908 votes in favor and 1,207 votes against.
These totals do not include absentee ballots, which are expected on Thursday, but are not expected to effect the final outcome.
Each of the four polling locations reported more votes for the budget than against with 339 for and 237 against at William Mason Elementary School, 395 for and 245 against at the Municipal Building, 499 for and 317 against at Cedar Hill Elementary School and 675 for and 408 against at the Montville Public Library.
The three Board of Education candidates running for three seats unopposed were incumbent Michael Palma, who garnered 1,935 votes, Matthew Kayne with 1,863 votes and Frank Cooney receiving 1,907 votes.
A total of 3,144 voters cast their ballots on Wednesday.
Members of the board, including Palma, Kayne, and now Cooney, as well as Superintendent Paul Fried and mayor Jim Sandham were at the Municipal Building awaiting the results of the election after 9 p.m., when the results were tallied by township clerk Trudy Atkinson.
When it was clear that the budget would pass, the board members began to celebrate.
"This was an important showing by the community," Kayne said. "I had faith that the community would come together and vote yes; I think that the district is moving in a very positive direction."
Palma noted that there was a different "synergy" last year when the budget was voted down.
"We just cut many teachers, many programs," Palma said. "Rather than people realizing that cutting the budget would cause further damage, there was a negative momentum that carried through."
Superintendent Fried was hopeful that the budget would pass this year.
"I think it was a very responsible budget that preserved all the fine programs we have...and that was respectful of the economic situation we're all facing, and it was below the two percent cap," Fried said.
Cooney, a police officer who previously served on the board of education from 1998 to 2008, said that he was ready to rejoin the board after taking a few years to work with the Explorer's program and with the police K-9 unit.