Holmdel residents voted Wednesday to approve a $50,711,869 school budget supported by a $47,180,371 tax levy that calls for no tax increase.
As results were announced at the Township Clerk's office at Town Hall around 9:45 p.m., several board members cheered and gave each other warm handshakes as they scanned the printouts of the results outside the Township Clerk's office.
"I am very excited," said Board President Ray Tai, watching the celebration. "I could not be any happier."
Business Administrator Michael Petrizzo said, "I'm excited for the ability to move forward. The students and the community can feel good about something."
Voters overwhelmingly approved the budget. "This is a landslide," said Superintendent Barbara Duncan.
Member Mike Sockol said, "You know who won tonight? The kids won tonight and Holmdel residents won tonight because they are getting a quality education and a very good value -- and that's why they voted yes."
Board members said they were grateful and delighted by the voters' approval, which will allow them to retain services as well add four new staff members: a technology / gifted and talented coach for Indian Hill School, a special education teacher for Satz Intermediate, a reading specialist for Indian Hill Elementary, an English teacher for High School / Satz, and a part-time nurse for Village School.
Assistant Superintendant Mary Beth Currie, who advises the district on curriculum and instruction, said the new staff members will "enhance" the opportunities for children to succeed.
In the school board election, incumbent Board Vice President Barbara Garrity got 900 votes; incumbent Member Phyllis Pascucci 840 votes, and newcomer Victor Desario got 832 votes. There were no challengers to the open seats.
Holmdel resident Ron Semler said he cast his "yes" vote just before the polls closed at 9 p.m. at the Senior / Community Center, mostly because he is concerned about increasing class sizes. He said his 13-year old is in classes that range from 12 to as many as 26 students in a classroom, which is too many in his view. "If they don't pass the budget, the SAT scores will keep going down," he said.
Resident Jenny Chen, the mother of a 7th, 4th and 2d grader, said she came out to vote after she saw an email reminding her today is the day to vote. "I think this is the only year there was a zero percent increase," she said. "I know a lot of effort went into making this happen. I support the budget."
The following is a chart of how voters responded to the question:
RESOLVED, that there should be raised for the General Fund $47,180,371.00 for the ensuing school year (2011-2012).
Districts 1, 2, 4 and 10 Senior/Community Center Crawfords Corner Road adjacent to Town Hall
District 3 Township Hall 4 Crawfords Corner Road
Districts 5 and 9 Village School, 67 McCampbell Road
Districts 6, 7 and 8 William R. Satz School 24 Crawfords Corner Road