Close Budget Votes, Board of Education Races in Putnam Districts

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Budget and Board of Education elections in Putnam County school districts produced some close results Tuesday.

In Carmel, where several high school students were disciplined in Feb. for creating and posting fake, inappropriate videos using artificial intelligence and impersonating different members of the district administration and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department, three candidates ran for two seats in a very contentious contest.

Jordi Douglas captured one of the seats with 2,174 votes, while James Wise finished second with 1,500. Carmela Atria fell short with 1,299. Incumbents Debra Heitman-Cayea and Matt Morello did not seek new terms.

Meanwhile, the 2023-24 budget was approved by a slim margin, 1,729-1,627.

In Mahopac, where the district is currently reviewing changing the longstanding Indians nickname following a mandate from the state Education Dept., four candidates ran for three seats.

Trustee Tanner McCracken was the top vote-getter with 1,734. President Ben DiLullo was second with 1,422 and Michael Mongon finished third with 1,268 to fill an empty seat. Marsha Weldman came in fourth with 1,119.

The budget was approved 1,294-1,105 and a bus proposition passed 1,384-1,006.

In Brewster, four candidates ran for two seats. Kerry Cunningham, the lone incumbent on the ballot, was reelected with 742 votes. Joining her on the board will be Melissa Stasi Finateri, who received 589 votes, and Carrie Hernandez, who received 567. Kristen Cacal was third with 459.

The annual budget was approved 826-525.

In Putnam Valley, voting was tight, with the budget being approved by a margin of 785-658. A school bus proposition passed 782-653, while the annual Putnam Valley Library budget was approved by only four votes, 721-717.

In the two-person race for one seat on the Board of Education, Crystal Hernandez was elected with 790 votes, besting incumbent Joseph Ferraro, who had 589.







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