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Voters approve 2024-25 budget, reject capital project proposal

Red Hook Central School District
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The Red Hook Central School District would like to thank the community for approving its 2024-25 budget Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

“We believe we put forth a budget that provided students and families with the same high level of services and education they should expect out of the Red Hook district while remaining fiscally responsible,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Janet Warden said. “We are pleased voters supported the budget.”

The $62,844,338 annual budget passed 1,452 votes to 492. Three of four additional propositions were approved, though voters rejected Proposition 3, a $14.95 million capital improvement plan.

The district’s Facilities Committee will reconvene to discuss the projects covered in the rejected proposition and determine how to address items of immediate importance for the safety of students.

“Elements of Proposition 3 would have remedied longstanding safety issues with facilities, including our athletics field and gymnasium bleachers being out of Americans with Disabilities Act compliance,” Warden said. “There are areas the district will need to look to address.”

The Board of Education ratified the preliminary vote results at its meeting Wednesday, May 22.

Proposition 2, funding to purchase electric school buses, passed 1,155 votes to 789.

Proposition 3, a $14.95 million capital project, failed 1,052 votes to 891.

Proposition 4, expanding the annual appropriation to the Red Hook Library budget, passed 1,436 votes to 511.

Proposition 5, increasing the annual appropriation to the Tivoli Free Library budget, passed 1,376 votes to 570.

Three seats on the Board of Education were also contested by five candidates. Austin Crittenden (1,186 votes), incumbent Erin Misasi (1,020), and incumbent Jennifer Mañón (985), were favored for the positions over Seth Halvorson (961) and Mark G. Maroney (731).

Each school board seat carries a three-year term, which will commence July 1 and end June 30, 2027.

The $62.84 million budget maintains services enjoyed by district families while remaining under the tax cap. It represents a 4.26-percent increase over 2023-24 and a 3.47-percent increase to the tax levy. Bruce Martin, Assistant Superintendent for Business, noted due to the growth of the tax base, the district anticipates the actual increase to the typical tax bill to be in the range of 2.25 to 2.5 percent.

Proposition 2 asked voters to approve up to $500,000 to purchase electric school buses, with a maximum cost of $250,000 per bus after outside grant or funding assistance. It was a measure not only to continue Red Hook’s longstanding strategy of replacing a handful of school buses each year but also to meet upcoming New York State mandates requiring the use of electric school vehicles.

Proposition 3 asked voters to approve a $14.95 million capital improvement project which included:

  • Installation of a multipurpose educational and athletic field.
  • Installation of new field lighting.
  • Resurfacing of the outdoor track, which is cracked and was last resurfaced in 2010.
  • Improvements to the other athletic fields’ drainage system.
  • New fencing for the track and multipurpose field.
  • Replacement of the high school’s gymnasium bleachers and wall padding, and renovation of its floor.
  • New LED lighting for Red Hook High School and Mill Road Elementary School.
  • Expanding and upgrading the air conditioning at Mill Road.
  • Bolstering the boiler system at Linden Avenue Middle School.
  • Expanding ease of access to the lockdown system in each school.
  • Repairs to the four front columns of the Linden Avenue building.

Many of the projects were intended to increase safety and accessibility. The main grass field at Red Hook High School is not compliant with the ADA. The gymnasium floor and bleachers are original to the school’s 1963 opening and the bleachers are likewise out of ADA compliance.

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