School board incumbents ousted, budgets okayed

WARRENSBURG - School district budgets throughout northern Warren County were approved with substantial margins Tuesday, but in districts where incumbent school board members were challenged, they were ousted by newcomers.

In Warrensburg Central School District elections, challengers retired police lieutenant James Carrion handily defeated multi-term school board president Thomas Yarmowich by a vote of 464 to 361, and physical therapist Beth Callahan was elected to fill the seat of Melissa Thomas, a board member that resigned. Callahan defeated Sheila Mender, a business administrator and long-time member of the school's citizen's budget advisory board. The vote was 489 to 327.

Warrensburg Central's three propositions to reformulate the school board were approved handily. Tenure on the board was reduced from five years to four, school board seats were reduced from nine to seven, and candidates will now run for at-large positions rather than individual seats.

The Warrensburg Central budget passed with the largest margin in recent history, 607 to 173 - although many felt the budget might be defeated, as many in the community said they thought the budget cuts were too deep.

This $19.3 million spending plan represents a 0.93 percent decrease in total spending and a 1.43 percent decrease in tax levy - the largest-ever decrease in a local school budget. The budget cuts 5 teaching jobs and various expenses, and cuts a few offerings at school including Drivers Education and Advanced Placement 7th grade Science.

In the Bolton Central School District, three new faces will be on the school board beginning in July.

Winning the election were newcomers Pamela Quigan of Diamond Point, 279 votes; Kathleen Pfau of Bolton, 260; and Dennis Murphy of Diamond Point, 223.

Defeated were incumbent school board members Richard Sammis, 169 votes; and Dr. L. Paul Rice, with 131 votes. Challenger Laura Baker of Bolton, with 186 votes, also lost.

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