School board incumbents William Millevoi (927 votes) and Susan Pirro (941 votes) maintained their seats on the board, and long-term board member Eleanore Rienl was re-elected to her seat as well with 756 votes.
The first two candidates were backed by the administration of Mayor Dennis Elwell. The third one remained independent, but Town Hall decided not to run a candidate against her this year.
Trailing the incumbents were the two political newcomers who ran, William Doring (329 votes) and Thomas Lawlor (277 votes).
John Shinnick (728 votes) ran unopposed to finish the one-year term vacated by George Helflich. He will have to run again next year if he wants a three-year seat.
The 2005/2006 school budget of $29.3 million, an almost $2 million increase, passed in every district with a final vote of 659 to 405.
Out of the 9,755 registered voters, only 1,397 voters came to the polls, according to Town Clerk Mike Marra. "The budget increase is the largest it's ever been. The school board as a whole is doing a very good job," said Mayor Dennis Elwell. "I am very happy with the turnouts and results. The incumbents worked very hard." Budget increases were due to increased student enrollments, health insurance increases, higher fuel costs and decreases in support from state coffers, he said. "While I don't always agree with how education is funded, we offset the high cost of running a school with stabilized municipal taxes," said Elwell. "With good government and good education, there is always a cost." Millevoi, Pirro and Shinnick were backed in the election by Elwell through the Children First Committee, an extension of the Secaucus Democratic Organization. Town Administrator Anthony Iacono said the political access group did two town-wide mailings and worked phone banks on Monday and Tuesday nights to pitch their three candidates.
From the school board polls at the Huber Street School, the victors were pleased to have their seats once again. All were happy with the numbers.
"This is the largest turnout I've seen in the last 12 years for the budget. The public recognized our efforts, showing us how they feel by their votes," Millevoi said.
"I want to thank the voters for understanding and approving the budget," said Pirro. "This year's graduation will be great with the new 1,000 seat auditorium that our budget paid for."
Rienl said, "This feels wonderful. I am very happy the constituents re-elected me. We can continue to provide an excellent education for our students."
Shinnick added, "I look forward having another year to implement ideas and projects for the schools." Over at Prime Suites Hotel on Rt. 3 and Mill Creek Drive, the Children First Committee members celebrated at their "Victory Headquarters."
"There are 800 members in the Secaucus Democratic Organization, and we worked the polls to get all those voters out," said Iacono.
Rienl stayed independent
Rienl had been asked to hop on board the mayor-backed ticket, but refused. She said she prefers to remain independent of any affiliation, since her only concerns are for the people of Secaucus.
Iacono said he feels her 27 years as a board member may soon come to an end. He said Elwell could have backed a third candidate from the Secaucus Democratic Organization but decided to "give her a pass" for this election. "We need some new, fresh faces on the Board of Education," said Iacono. "She's not as popular as she used to be. She used to come in first, and this election she came in last. Our candidates beat her by over 200 votes apiece."
Retired school board member Doug McCormick begged to differ.
"That statement is ridiculous," said McCormick. "It doesn't matter if you come in first, second or third." McCormick said that from his experience at the polls, popularity changes in vote count vary from year to year. "Besides, she got more votes than Shinnick without all the big noise," he said. "What does that say?"
Too hard to win
Willam Doring said he felt negatively about the political aspect of the election. Elwell's support of other candidates was "hard to overcome," he said. He also said that while the budget was on the ballot, people were probably not aware that the $29.3 million was almost a 10 percent increase.
"Winning depends on what type of person you are politically," said Doring. "I'm surprised I got as many votes as I did."