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North Salem Budget Passes By 72%; Daniels, D'Agostino, Binette Win Seats

(from left) Deborah D'Agostino, Jennifer Binette and Katherine Daniels were elected to the North Salem School Board.
(from left) Deborah D'Agostino, Jennifer Binette and Katherine Daniels were elected to the North Salem School Board. Photo Credit: Contributed

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Incumbents Katherine Daniels and Deborah D'Agostino were re-elected by voters in Tuesday's North Salem School Board election. Newcomer Jennifer Binette defeated Julie Cherico for the other available seat.

Daniels received a total of 462 votes; D'Agostino, 415; Binette, 409; and Cherico, 358, according to unofficial results announced by the district Tuesday night.

The $40,188,672 budget for 2013-14 was approved by an unprecedented 72 percent of voters, in a vote of 510 to 200. The budget represents a tax levy increase of 2.35 percent and is below the state mandated tax levy cap.

Daniels has served as president of the Board of Education and would like to introduce foreign language study at the elementary school level when the budgetary restrictions ease. She is concerned about unfunded mandates, standardized testing and teacher and principal evaluations, considering much of these requirements to be negative forces against future improvement.

D'Agostino, currently serving as board president, is an enthusiastic supporter of the school district’s Mission statement, calling it consistent with excellence. She encourages critical and creative thinking and says it is important that we “teach our kids to think, not to test.”

Binette was a primary force in the hiring of a fifth teacher for the fourth grade last year, when the Board considered reducing the number to four teachers. While she is a proponent of small class sizes, she also emphasizes the need for maintaining quality teachers, who might be flexible enough to move grade levels if necessary.

Voters also approved Proposition #2 in an unofficial tally of 472 to 186. The proposition sought voter approval to make various safety and security upgrades to the schools including systems of securing entrances, reconfiguring alarm systems, replacing PA systems and updating all emergency communications systems throughout the district. The total cost of the improvements is $484,000.

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