WESTFIELD — Westfield residents voted to approve the local school district’s $112,832,744 budget on Tuesday as part of the board of education’s first off-season election in more than a decade.
Additionally, incumbents Kent Diamond and Brendan Galligan — along with newcomer Charles Gelinas — were elected to new, three-year terms on the board.
According to unofficial results provided by the county, 4,019 voters, roughly 5 percent of registered voters, turned out to the polls. The current tally includes any mail-in or provisional ballots that were received before election day.
Mr. Diamond, who was appointed to fill a vacated seat on the board last year after serving a full term in 2017, secured 2,587 votes, while Mr. Galligan, the board’s current president, received 2,546. Mr. Gelinas, meanwhile, was elected to his first term, with 2,470 votes.
Challengers Brian Crawford and Dyanna Pepitone secured 1,339 and 1,131 votes, respectively.
Voters also opted to approve two separate budget questions — one pertaining to the district’s general operating fund of $111,882,749, and another that will allocate an additional $949,995 of collected tax revenue to new staff positions.
The first question passed with 2,530 votes to 1,398; and the second question, though approved by a slightly narrower margin, garnered 2,343 in favor and 1,578 against.
Given this year’s increases, Westfield residents should expect to see their taxes go up by about $444.
In leading up to its election, the board wished a fond farewell to two of the district’s veteran professionals during a special meeting held last week.
Board member Michael Bielen and Barbara Ball, the district’s human resources specialist, both received the district’s gratitude on Thursday as part of a special meeting held in advance of Tuesday’s election.
Mr. Bielen, who announced his decision not to seek re-election earlier this year, has served on the board since 2017. In that time, Mr. Galligan said Thursday, Mr. Bielen has served on “almost every committee” and has barely ever missed a meeting.
“The privilege of serving on the board of education with a team of intelligent, dedicated, community-minded individuals has been an incredibly rewarding experience,” Mr. Bielen said. “This has been an opportunity to serve my community without political influence or bias. Ultimately, my goal has always been to ensure that every student in the district receives the best possible education, regardless of their background or circumstances.”
Mrs. Ball, who first joined the Westfield school community in 1967, has served as a classroom teacher, an assistant principal and as a member of the Human Resources Department.
“Westfield has consistently attracted experienced and well-educated administrators, teachers and staff, much of that attributable to Mrs. Ball’s extensive knowledge of the district and a calm and welcoming demeanor that is unparalleled,” Mr. Galligan said Thursday. “Her pride in the school district and Westfield is evident in everything she does, and we have been so fortunate to have had the benefit of her expertise and devotion.”
The board also joined coaches, parents and administrators on Thursday in congratulating three high-school sports teams — the boys’ and girls’ swim teams and the boys’ winter track team — on their award-winning seasons.
Both the boys’ swim team and the boys’ track team took home state championships this year, while the girls’ swim team finished out the season with the sectional title.