Voters Head to Polls Today
At Stake are Proposed School Budgets and School Board Candidates
After months of careful preparation by local school boards, the final decision on 2011-12 school budgets now lies with voters.
As mandated by the state, all proposed school budgets for the districts of Caldwell-West Caldwell, North Caldwell, and West Essex Regional remain below the 2% spending cap, with the Caldwell-West Caldwell budget at a 0% increase to the tax levy.
In this district, residents will vote on the proposed $40 million school budget. When introduced, this budget was called "historic" by the School Board for its 0% tax levy increase while still maintaining all programs and staff levels.
In addition to the school budget, Mary Davidson is running unopposed for her fourth term on the Board.
Polls open at 2:30 pm and close at 9:00 pm in both Caldwell and West Caldwell.
This district has a proposed budget of $12.3 million, representing a 1.06% increase to the tax levy. In preparing the budget, the BOE had prioritized programs and services based upon results from a parent survey. However, no programs needed to be cut from the final adopted budget.
Two candidates are running unopposed for two Board seats. Incumbent Robert Kessler is seeking reelection while newcomer Valerie Buccino is looking to fill the seat vacated by Aggie Doolen.
Polls open at 7 am and close at 9 pm in North Caldwell.
In addition to voting on the proposed $34.5 million budget, voters in the sending district of Fairfield will have to choose between 3 candidates vying for 2 positions on the Board.
Frank Antonucci is seeking reelection for his second term, while newcomers Anthony Rubinich and David Zaccaria are looking to secure a position on the Board. The second Fairfield seat was vacated by outgoing BOE President Phyliss Helmstetter.
The only other open BOE seat is in Roseland, where incumbent Dawn Smith is running unopposed. Smith was appointed to the Board in December when Board Vice President Carolann Aschoff resigned.
As for the proposed budget, it also leaves programming and staffing intact, similar to the other area school budgets.
Residents in the four sending districts of Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell and Roseland will all vote on the budget.
Polls are only open early in North Caldwell. Polls in the other three districts open at 2:00 pm and close at 9:00 pm.