Budgets pass in Peekskill and Hen Hud

May 18, 2023

New trustee is a PHS alumna; incumbent returns for third term

About a hundred less Peekskill residents went to the polls this year to vote for a school budget and trustee seats in Tuesday’s election. Last year some 533 people voted. This year saw 434 cast their vote for the two candidates running for two seats and a $115 million dollar proposed budget that is a 9.7 percent increase over last year. 

Incumbent Branwen MacDonald, who is the current president of the board, received 349 votes and Amy Vele, a 2013 PHS graduate, received 333 votes. Proposition Number One saw 321 yes votes and 113 votes opposing the spending plan. There were 38 write-in candidates. 

Amy Vele, left and Branwen MacDonald after Tuesday’s election. (Photo by Regina Clarkin )

The budget proposed the following: literacy, special education and math coaches have been added to the elementary team to support higher level vocabulary, language acquisition, problem solving, project based learning and differentiated learning opportunities for all students. The dual language program is offered from pre-kindergarten to grade 5, an increase in the amount of English as a New Language staff in elementary schools. In addition an elementary strings program introduces violins, bass, and cellos, beginning in grade 3. In the upcoming year the string program will extend to grade 11. All elementary buildings have a clinical team dedicated to social emotional learning. The district will continue to expand its commitment to the community school model, partnering with outside agencies to provide enrichment opportunities for children. 

Outgoing Trustee Sam North with incumbent Branwen MacDonald and Superintendent David Mauricio. (Photo by Regina Clarkin)

In the Middle School, new teachers will be added to support the transition to a nine period day which lowers class size. At Peekskill High School, there will be increased engineering offerings. There will be an expansion of academic offerings in digital arts, advanced pre-calculus, college Computer Information Systems, College Statistics, AP Biology and College Drawing. In addition, there will be increased college course offerings, with focus on college and career readiness and partnership with Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES for culinary arts and robotics programs. 

Dietrich and Silverman top vote getters out of field of five

Voters in the Hendrick Hudson School District approved four propositions on Tuesday’s ballot and selected two candidates out of a field of five for trustee positions. On the ballot were the 2023-2024 School Budget, a proposition to purchase four new buses, the budget for the Hendrick Hudson Free Library, and an Energy Performance Contract of up to $4.7M.

The newly elected board trustees are Tomica Dietrich and Amelia Silverman. Silverman had the most votes with 854 and Dietrich collected 745. They will begin their three year terms on July 1, 2023 following the exits of Vice President Alixandra Philbin and Cory Notrica from the board on June 30th. The runners up were Frank Dominguez (670 votes), Alea Vorillas (519 votes) and Joanna Harbolic (421 votes). 

Voters approved a $23 million budget for the library. (Photo by Steve Pavlopoulos)

Proposition Number One was the school budget of $88 million  (up 1.6 percent from last year’s approved budget). It passed with a vote of 1330 to 339. Proposition Number Two was the purchase of four 72-passenger Type B gas-powered buses equipped with cameras and child check systems. The purchase will not exceed $680,000 and the approximate cost per bus is $170,000. This passed with a vote of 1295 to 374. Proposition Number Three was the Hendrick Hudson Free Library Budget of $1.3 million which passed with a vote of 1326 to 341. Proposition Number Four was the Energy Performance Contract which, as proposed, would be paid from energy cost savings with a net cost of $0 to taxpayers in the district. It passed with a vote of 1285 to 374.

Trustees-elect Tomica Dietrich, left and Amelia Silverman. (Photo by Steve Pavlopoulos)

At the polling site at Frank G. Lindsey, a letter was presented to voters alerting them of the path forward in the search for a new permanent superintendent to replace  Interim Joseph Hochreiter whose resignation is effective on June 30. The board will be holding public meetings to gather input on the “qualifications, values, and leadership qualities that the community seeks in the next superintendent.”

The two community, in-person meetings are scheduled to take place at the Hendrick Hudson Free Library on Tuesday, June 6th. The first is from 11:30 a.m.  to 1:00 p.m. with the second meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m.  and going until  7:00 p.m. If residents are unable to attend these in-person meetings, there will be a brief survey posted on the district website starting tomorrow, May 19th. Members of the community can offer their comments until June 18th when the survey closes.

Register to vote in the next election, by going through the district or the NY Board of Elections. To check registration status, call the District Clerk at (914) 257-5112.

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