Diane Angell of Thurman (left), a registered nurse employed for decades at Glens Falls Hospital, shares a congratulatory hug with her daughter Kelly a minute or so after votes were tallied at Warrensburg High School indicating she’d won a seat on the local school district board of education. Her husband Brian looks on in the background.
Minutes before the votes were counted Tuesday Oct. 18 in the Warrensburg School District election, Diane Angell was on edge. She’d never before won a campaign for an elected office.
Decades ago, she’d run for high school class president, but lost the race.
A moment after the votes were tallied by school officials, Angell exhaled and smiled.
She won a seat on the Warrensburg Central Board of Board of Education, defeating Patrick Powers of Warrensburg by a vote of 338 to 213.
“The campaign has been a long haul — and I’m certainly happy with the results,” she said.
Angell had invested a lot of work in the outcome, contacting a good number of residents and discussing issues with taxpayers.
The day before the vote, she lettered campaign signs that urged people to vote, and she and her friends attached helium balloons to the signs and planted them beside local intersections to capture attention.
“My friends, family and community came together to accomplish this,” she said. “And now I’ll work hard to reach the goals I set during my campaign.”
Angell campaigned on a platform of maintaining or enhancing the high quality education at WCS as top priority — with an eye on controlling costs.
She pledged to scrutinize expenses, including utility costs, for potential savings. She also said she’d work diligently to pursue grant funding for ongoing programs or facility needs, so taxes could be cut accordingly.
One of the potential savings, she has said, could involve lining up corporate sponsorships of various programs at school, like technology.
Tuesday night, she said she was ready to devote the considerable time needed to help make decisions and form policy for the school district. Her term was to start in less than a day — and this next week, the work on the board begins.
The board’s next meeting, set for this upcoming week, focuses on facilities needs. Board members will be grappling with the issue of potential consolidation of facilities, or sharing services and programs with other school districts.
The board will undoubtedly be evaluating options regarding repair or replacement of the high school’s roof, which is deteriorating, school board president Dean Moore said. The cost to remediate or replace the roof range up to $1 million or more — an issue that is burdensome when taxpayers are grappling with the school district’s increased fuel, utility and personnel costs while state revenues are decreasing.
Tuesday, Angell sounded positive about finding solutions.
But while some have called for WCS elementary pupils and high school students to be taught together in one of the district’s two campuses, Angell said such a concept wasn’t really viable at this point.
“With our 880 or so students, consolidating into one school building is impractical, considering the specialized curriculum needs and state mandates on appropriate class sizes,” she said. “But I’m dedicated to making school operations as efficient as possible — and I’ll be taking nothing for granted.”
Election observers said that Powers’ vote total was substantial considering his relatively few years in town.
Powers called Angell’s home after the outcome was announced to offer his congratulations. He said later that he was hoping that she follows through on her pledge to benefit the students while keeping the concerns of the taxpayers in mind.
“I know that Diane has a lot of good ideas, and I hope she follows through with them,” he said.