VERNON - The Vernon Township School District's $59.4 million budget was overwhelmingly approved by township residents April 20. Three incumbent board candidates, Howard J. Whidden, John McGowan and Thomas J. Papa, retained their seats in an uncontested school board race. The budget was approved nearly three-to-one, with 1,143 voting for the budget and 488 voting against it. "While voter participation was less than what we had anticipated, special thanks go out to those who did participate," said Vernon Township School District Superintendent Anthony Macerino. "Such a tremendous budget approval indicates that the voters were willing to reaffirm their trust and confidence in the administration and board of education leadership." The district worked hard to pass the budget, airing budget hearings and interviews on television, at open public budget sessions, and through written communications with parents and the community at-large. The tax increase of $20 on a house assessed at $100,000 was one of the lowest in recent years, said Macerino. The budget maintains all programs and provides for the addition of Italian at the high-school level. The district's six school co-curricular and extra curricular activities will remain intact. The district employs 654 people and educates 5,300 students. The average cost per year to educate a child in the Vernon school district is just over $9,000.