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School budgets easily pass, but some large districts counting ballots late into night
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School budgets easily pass, but some large districts counting ballots late into night

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School budgets easily passed in the region, but results were still not in late Tuesday night on Fort Edward's bid to override the tax cap. 

Counting had not been completed as it neared midnight.

All school district budgets passed including the large districts of Glens Falls, Queensbury and Hudson Falls, but South Glens Falls school officials said they were suspending counting on Tuesday night and would resume at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Turnout was high as the election was conducted entirely through absentee ballot because of the coronavirus pandemic.

For example, Hudson Falls sent out 7,800 ballots and got 1,749 ballots back — about four times as many people who voted on the budget in 2019. It took two hours for a group of people to count them all. Some were opening the envelopes while others were doing the tallies, to make it as efficient as possible.

“Most years it’s around 400 (voters), but you know, we made it easy. We sent the ballots to their house,” said Superintendent Linda Goewey.

All eyes were on Fort Edward to see if district voters would pass the budget, which proposed a nearly 20% increase in the tax levy. 

The district has seen major problems with the loss of tax revenue from the former Hudson River dewatering plant. The owner of the property defaulted on the taxes and the county made the school district whole. Now, Fort Edward has to pay $1.7 million back and it took out a bond because it did not have the funds.

There were not many contested school board races in the region.

In Lake George, incumbent Tom Seguljic lost his bid for re-election. Newcomers Rosemarie Earl and Jeannine Bieber received 1,174 and 977 votes, respectively, to win two three-year seats.

Seguljic got 704 votes and Jay Salmon received 480.

Bieber and Earl are backed by the Lake George United for Education group. Members of that group have an active lawsuit against the district over elimination of the junior-senior high school vice principal position two years ago.

Now, most of the board is made up of candidates who were endorsed or affiliated with that group, including President Tricia Connor Biles and Katie Bruening, Maryanne MacKenzie and Melissa Seale.

In Whitehall, incumbents Thomas Baker, Richard LaChapelle and Patricia Norton won new three-year terms and will be joined by former Whitehall Town Supervisor George Armstrong.

North Warren voters re-elected incumbents Mike Erickson, John Maday and Cortney Swan. Newcomer Lindsay Swan finished with 610 votes — 20 votes behind Cortney Swan, who had 630.

In Salem, Anne Dunigan won re-election for another term. There was no declared candidate for a second seat. Dan Snyder won the seat with three write-in votes, edging out Gina Beagle with two.

Three people were running for two four-year seats and a one-year seat in Warrensburg. Incumbent Doug West and former board member Elaine Cowin won the full four-year seats and Laurie Rinke will complete the final year of Rob Frasier’s term.

In Fort Edward, incumbent Vice President Michael Glass and Daniel Shiels, Christina Durkee and Elaine Trackey-Saltsman were running for a five-year seat and a one-year seat.

The future of the district was a hot topic during the campaign. The Board of Education voted in March to do a full merger study with the South Glens Falls Central School District.

Glass voted in favor of that study and Trackey-Saltsman said in a candidate forum she supported it. Shiels and Durkee said they were opposed to the study and wanted Fort Edward to remain its own district.

The issue is emotionally charged in town, with lawn signs stating: “Save Fort Edward School.”

School Election 2020 Results

School district voters have voted on proposed budgets, propositions and school board candidates via absentee ballots. The results are as follows:

* = Denotes the winners in a school board election.

** = A supermajority of 60% was required for passage since the budget sought to exceed the tax cap. Fort Edward's budget did not pass. 

District Budget For Against Ballot Propositions For Against School Board Votes
Abraham Wing $4.965 million 161 23
Argyle $13.306 million 612 155 Argyle Free library budget 548 218
Bolton $9.757 million 432 186 Jesse Foy 548
Timothy Daken 513
Cambridge $22.285 million 950 462 Technology infrastructure project 1,023 393
Lease 70-passenger buses 905 501
Lease other buses 894 515
Cambridge Library budget 1058 364
Corinth $22.272 million 848 373 Purchase school buses 770 443
Corinth Free Library budget 861 345
Fort Ann $12.346 million 196 48 Purchase school buses 193 51
Fort Edward** $11.833 million 431 386 Purchase school vehicles 445 368 Christina Durkee* 502
Michael Glass (i) 250
Daniel Shiels* 367
Elaine Trackey-Saltsman 317
Glens Falls $46.505 million 2,223 483 Lease school buses 1,439 310
Granville $26.136 million 788 202
Greenwich $21.976 million 460 102 Buy school buses and vehicles 412 150
Hadley-Luzerne $21.459 million 948 288 Purchase school buses 905 332
Hartford $13.405 million 382 122 Purchase school vehicles 341 161
Hudson Falls $44.693 million 1,460 289 Purchase school buses 1,312 44
Indian Lake $6.979 million 219 51 Purchase school buses 222 49
Johnsburg $11.406 million 226 32
Lake George $23.91 million 1,302 561 Purchase school buses 1,277 576 Jeannine Bieber* 977
Rosemarie Earl* 1,174
Jay Salmon 480
Tom Seguljic (i) 704
Long Lake $4.38 million 120 52 Use bus purchase reserve fund 135 36
Minerva $5.572 million 199 54 Establish bus purchase reserve fund 195 58
Newcomb $6.491 million 109 48
North Warren $13.9 million 762 189 Mike Erickson (i) 671
John Maday (i) 780
Cortney Swan (i) 634
Lindsay M. Swan 610
Putnam $2.612 million 126 51 Fund capital reserve 126 50
Queensbury $67.563 million 2,681 1,263 School bus purchase 2,694 1,244
Salem $14.123 million 628 218 Lease school buses 644 202
Bancroft Library budget 685 164
Saratoga Springs $132.397 million 7,128 2,724 School bus purchase 7,102 2,695 Marissa Altimar 3,715
Library budget 6,999 2,840 Erika Borman* 4,270
Anjeanette Emeka* (i) 4,776
Scott Jackson 4,002
Tony Krackeler* 4,953
Casey Putnam 4,060
Matthew Taylor 2,297
Schroon Lake $8.212 million 467 112
Schuylerville $37.464 million 1,202 654 Jack Macica (i)* 983
Bernard Buff Jr. (i)* 995
South Glens Falls $59.967 million 2,662 1,069 Purchase school buses 2,432 1,292
Ticonderoga $22.4 million 877 623
Warrensburg $21.592 million 644 253 Lease school buseses 730 162 Elaine Cowin* 669
Laurie Rinke* 631
Douglas West* (i) 681
Whitehall $17.084 million 360 71 Purchase school buseses 350 80 George Armstrong* 274
Thomas Baker* (i) 236
Richard LaChapelle* (i) 375
Patricia Norton* (i) 357
Amy Michaud 120
Roslyn Stark-Lambert 234

Post-Star reporters Kathleen Moore, Will Springstead and Chad Arnold contributed to this story. Reach Michael Goot at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

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