Town officials wanted more time to work on the budget to make up for a loss in state aid, so that an anticipated school tax hike will not be as steep.
The final tally was 645 against and 111 for the budget that would have called for an estimated $340 tax hike for each Weehawken homeowner with an assessed property value of $140,000.
"Obviously, Weehawken is no different than any other community, with property taxes as the number one issue and concern," Turner said last week. "It's that way now and will be that way forever. We needed to have a budget that was somewhat acceptable, and it's not surprising to me that the voters realized that."
Even though 11 of the last 14 school board budgets passed, this one went down in a blazing heap thanks to the efforts of Turner and his Township Council getting the word out.
"When a budget makes sense, Weehawken passes it," Turner said.
Turner said that there will be three public hearings on the Board of Education budget, one scheduled for each of the township's schools, in the coming weeks. The amended budget will have to be presented to the Hudson County Superintendent of Education by May 19.
Three incumbents return
The voters re-elected the incumbent members of the Board of Education, namely Board President Richard Barsa and members Joseph Rutigliano and Alberto Cabrera.
Barsa had the highest total with 648 votes, followed by Cabrera with 616 and Rutigliano with 607. Independent candidate Glenn Fuzak, running for the first time, received 249 votes.
"I think the people showed us that it's not broke, don't fix it," said Barsa, who will begin his sixth term on the Board and fourth as president. "I think the voters understand that we're all homeowners and taxpayers like they are, that we're going to do what's best for the residents."
Fuzak ran a clean campaign, not attacking his opponents, only promoting his own ideas for change.
"I'm disappointed, but not discouraged," Fuzak said. "I'm fine with it. I think it went well. I became energized by running. I'm not sure whether I'll do it again, but I will consider it. I learned a lot, got out and met a lot of new people and received good support. I'm happy about the experience, just disappointed with the result. We need to have more competition like I brought. I know I didn't make many enemies."
Turner was so impressed with Fuzak's approach to the Board of Education election that the mayor called him Wednesday morning to congratulate him on his efforts.
"Glenn didn't offer any personal attacks, and I congratulated him on a good campaign," Turner said. "He was a good candidate. He didn't focus on the negative."
Turner was happy that his three candidates won by almost 3-to-1 margins.
"The incumbents have done a fantastic job," Turner said. "The voters realized that the board is doing the best it can to keep taxes down."