EXETER — Voters in the Exeter School District overwhelmingly approved all three warrant articles before them at the polls Tuesday, including the proposed operating budget of $20,356,209.

Current Board Chairman Patrick O’Day was elected to another term with 1,603 votes while newcomer Sarah Edwards received 1,682 votes for a seat on the board. She will fill the seat being vacated by John Maxwell, who retired from the board after 20 years.

“In starting my 14th year on the Exeter School Board, I’m particularly looking forward to supporting the new full-day kindergarten program as it continues to develop,” O’Day said on Wednesday. “I enjoy working with our strong Exeter schools that seek continuous improvement.”

Exeter School District Moderator Steve Hermans decided to step down from his post after serving since the mid-1990s and Chris Hilson, who received six write-in votes, will take over the position. Robert Delorie received three write-in votes for the treasurer position.

Article 1, the proposed operating budget of $20,356,209, passed by a vote of 1,585 to 627. If the budget had failed to pass, the district would have adopted the default budget of $19,555,620, which is the same as last year with certain adjustments as required by law.

“I’m thankful to be in a community that clearly supports education,” O’Day said of the results. “The addition of a new social worker position in next year’s budget is a smart community investment in protecting the social and emotional health of our students. Many thanks to Exeter voters.”

Article 2, a request for a new three-year contract with the school’s paraprofessionals, passed by a vote of 1,614 to 653. The contract includes an average 2.5 percent wage increase over the next three years. The proposed contract includes an increase of $112,337 in 2020, $92,460 in 2021 and $93,822 in 2022. It also includes a bump in hourly pay for those who go through training to become a registered behavior technician, which provides more specific training in handling student behaviors.

Article 3, which asked for $75,000 to be placed into a newly established Special Education Trust Fund, also passed by a vote of 1,669 to 625. The funds will be transferred at the end of the fiscal year from unexpended funds in the operating budget, if they exist.

The board wants to establish the fund to cover any unanticipated special education costs that arise during the school year. These costs could arise from students transferring into the district mid-year that require services or students that need additional services, not previously budgeted. The trust fund would allow the district to cover those costs without having to cut from other existing programs or staffing.

The Exeter School Board held their regularly scheduled meeting on election night, during which they recognized Maxwell for his many years of service to the board. O’Day spoke of Maxwell’s decision to stay on the board after his own children graduated and noted the longtime board member was always respectful in how he addressed issues before the board.

Board member Dawn Bullens said Maxwell’s knowledge of the history of the board, and schools, was very helpful to both herself and the board.

The board approved a resolution in honor of Maxwell, which read, “Resolved: the Exeter School Board expresses its deep gratitude, genuine affection, and great thanks to John Maxwell for his 20 years of consecutive service on this Board. On his last day as a Member, we wish him all happiness for the future."