DELMAR — Despite a pandemic and shutdowns across the state, more Bethlehem Central voters turned out to approve next year’s academic budget than last year.
District voters approved a $103.5 million budget for the 2020-21 school year by a margin of 78 percent in favor to 22 percent opposed.
“The one thing we have been able to count on in this time of uncertainty has been the support of a community that values education and truly cares for its schools,” said Superintendent Jody Monroe. “This budget will provide us with the necessary tools to meet the many challenges of delivering quality education against the backdrop of the pandemic. “
The district counted nearly 5,000 ballots Tuesday evening, June 16. Of the 4,899 votes, 3,832 approved next year’s budget. Residents also voted in favor of a $1.2 million bus purchase proposition and decided upon three school board members.
Holly Dellenbaugh. Meredith Moriarty and Christine Beck — all incumbents — each return to the school board for another three-year term. Beck, who received the least amount of votes out of the three, received 15 percent more votes than her closest competitor Ryan Richman.
Dellenbaugh, Moriarty and Beck’s new terms will start as of July 1.
Virus-related shutdowns prevented residents from using the voting booths in 2020. Instead, the district brought the vote home to them by means of a mail-in ballot. As a result, nearly twice as many residents voted this year.
Last year, 2,528 residents voted to approve the district’s proposed budget. The mail-in ballots resulted in a 93.8 percent increase in voter response.
“We have a long road ahead of us but it helps us to know that the community recognizes the needs of students as we prepare for the 2020-21 school year,” Monroe said.