OSWEGO, NY – Voters returned two incumbents to the Oswego School Board and added a newcomer.
The top three vote-getters in Tuesday night’s election all thanked the voters for their support.
However, one of them isn’t “jumping for joy just yet.”
Earning seats on the Oswego Board of Education were incumbents Sam Tripp and Mike McLaughlin with 1,558 and 1,458 unofficial vote respectively.
They were joined by Brian Haessig with an unofficial vote tally of 1,061.
Incumbent John Dunsmoor (966 unoffical votes) and challenger Tom Dehm (1,045 unofficial votes) rounded out the field seeking the three seats.
Haessig who currently holds slim lead over Dehm for the last seat thanked the voters who supported him; but said the race is “too close for comfort.”
“I’m pleased with the vote support,” he told Oswego County Today. “But, I’m not jumping for joy just yet. It’s very close. We have to wait and see what happens when the absentee votes are counted.”
In the early reports, it appeared as if voters voted for the first three names on the ballot – Tripp, McLaughlin and Dehm.
That order didn’t change until about half the districts had reported and Haessig received heavy support from Oswego Town and Minetto.
“I’m happy I’m back. There’s still a lot we have to get done,” said Tripp, currently the board vice president. “I want to thank all the voters who came out and supported me.”
Tripp told Oswego County Today that he is looking forward to working on the issues, especially finances, facing the district.
“We got a good bunch of people on the board and I think we can get a lot done to continue to improve our district,” he said.
“I want to thank everyone who supported me. I didn’t really expect it. I’m amazed by the amount of support I received,” McLaughlin said. “I think the people know that I am there to support them.”
There are some challenges ahead, he admits. But the board and administration are working to overcome them, he added.
“It’s going to be an interesting year,” he said. “I think we can work together and keep the district headed in the right direction.”
The terms of incumbents Dunsmoor, McLaughlin and Tripp expire on June 30.
The top three vote-getters will serve three-year terms and will take their oath of office at the reorganizational meeting in early July.
The district’s budget also passed in all ten districts. The unofficial vote was 1,445 yes and 790 no.
Ben Halsey, superintendent, said he appreciates the voters’ support of his first budget as Oswego’s school chief.
“I think we were vey forthcoming with our budget plan right from the get-go,” he said. “We
explained our crisis and what steps we were willing to take to deal with it. Then we followed through.”
The entire process was very transparent, he said, adding that he recently gave 16 budget presentations to various groups.
Now he is looking forward to ending the (school) year on a positive note and celebrate the district’s accomplishments.
“Win lose or draw it’s been a process that has been important for the school district and for the community,” Halsey said at Tuesday’s school board meeting. “This (budget) process is time consuming, almost all consuming. I am thankful and appreciate everyone who rolled up their sleeves to get us to this point. We’ve done our part and now it is time for the community make their decision.”
“Certainly, I don’t want to look at things through rose colored glasses; I welcome feedback from any of you (board members) and the community on what we did this year. We’ll take it, we’ll internalize it and try to improve on our process in the future,” he continued.