Westfield passes school budget, elects BOE members

As of Hi’s Eye’s April 26 print deadline, the Union County Clerk, Joanne Rajoppi, is reporting results that show BOE incumbent candidates Brendan Galligan and Kent Diamond winning reelection, with Charles Gelinas taking the third seat. Both public questions regarding the district budget will pass, resulting in a 4.84 percent increase to property taxes. The new budget will allow the district to maintain current programs and add new guidance counselors throughout grades K-12. These results are unofficial until they are certified on May 8.

Westfield residents voted on Tuesday to fill three seats on the BOE, and responded to two public questions. The first question asked voters whether they would be in favor of a 3.95 percent tax increase to avoid cuts in current staff and to maintain existing programs within the district. The second question asked constituents if they were in favor of an additional 0.89 percent tax increase to improve K-12 counseling resources. Based on the assessed value of the average home, this change equates to an annual increase of approximately $444 ($37 per month) for the average Westfield homeowner.

Voters could vote for three of the five candidates running for a seat on the BOE. Elected BOE members will serve a three-year term upon their swearing in. The two incumbent candidates, Galligan and Diamond, ran against three challengers, Brian Crawford, Gelinas and Dyanna Pepitone.

Galligan has held a seat since 2012, currently holding the position of BOE President. Diamond has held a BOE seat intermittently since 2017, and after losing reelection bids in 2020 and 2021, he was appointed to fill a vacancy in January of this year.

For some seniors at WHS, this election was their first opportunity to cast a ballot. Senior Jackson Gagliardi said, “As an 18 year old, I have the unique opportunity to represent a high school student’s voice in an election about education. There is this fraction of time that we, as students, can actually represent ourselves.”

Galligan is pleased with the election results. “The combination of the budget passing and incumbents being reelected proves the town is largely happy with what we’re doing in this district and we have a decisive mandate to press forward with the path we are taking.”

To view the preliminary election results, visit unioncountyvotes.com.