School budgets pass in Elmont and Franklin Square

Bad weather contributes to low turnout

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In abysmally low turnout, residents in Elmont and Franklin Square voted last week to accept their elementary school districts’ respective budgets and propositions and to re-elect both incumbent board members.

Elmont voters accepted the Elmont Free Union School District’s $89.5 million budget and its 3.55 percent tax increase by a margin of 902 to 292. It tax hike was the lowest increase of any local school district and is in line with the Elmont Board of Education’s frugal policies.

At the same time, voters in the Franklin Square Union Free School District voted 685 to 254 to accept the Board of Education’s proposed $38.8 million budget. They 718 to 203 to approve two measures to spend funds from the district’s capital reserves. The budget includes

a 2.58 percent increase to the property

tax levy.

In Franklin Square’s Board of Education contest, incumbent Trustee Joseph Lewinger defeated former Trustee Jean Fichtl by a margin of 446 to 394.

Voters also assented to Sewanhaka Central High School District’s $198.6 million budget on a vote of 2,544 to 1,024. The budget includes a 2.87 percent property tax hike.

Voter turnout was even lower than in past contests. A total of 1,194 votes were cast in Elmont, versus 1,321 in last year’s contest, for a 9.6 percent drop. With a

voting-age population of roughly 15,600, only 7.6 percent of those eligible made it to the polls.

“None of the board races were competitive,” district Superintendent Al Harper said. “People tend to be a little more concerned when there are board races; there’s a little more excitement. And the bad weather toward the end of the day probably kept people at home, too.” Harper said he was pleased by the electorate’s “continued commitment to the children and to education.”

In Franklin Square, a scant 939 voters exercised the franchise, as against 1,183 a year ago, for a decline of 20.6 percent. The percentage of votes cast versus the number of eligible voters was higher than in Elmont, however — 13.1 percent.

In the Sewanhaka contest, 3,568 votes were cast, compared with 4,802 last year, for a drop of 25.6 percent.