MONSON — The Monson School Committee has reorganized following the results of the June 11 election, which selected one of the challengers over the former chair of the committee.

In the election, residents were asked to choose two candidates of the four who ran for a position on the committee. This included former Chair Emily Graves-Harrison and current member Alison Morgan as well as challengers Peter Wiggins and Karen O’Toole.

Wiggins received the most votes for the position while Morgan received the second most votes, placing both as the selected members for the committee. In an electoral upset, Graves-Harrison did not receive enough votes to maintain her seat.

During the School Committee’s reorganization at its June 12 meeting, Morgan was voted by the committee to be the new chair, while Jamie Murphy was selected as vice chair and Karen Nothe-Valley became secretary.

In a post on Facebook following the announcement of the election results, Morgan thanked those who supported her campaign and stated that she “can’t wait to see what the next three years brings.”

Wiggins also thanked residents who held signs and supported his campaign. He told Reminder Publishing that he was looking forward to hearing from parents at meetings, was open to new ideas and intended to “stand by [his] message.”

In an earlier conversation with Reminder Publishing, Wiggins stated that he offered a new perspective to the committee and emphasized his focus on addressing bullying in schools as well as basic math, reading and civics skills. Retired from the Army National Guard after 23 years, Wiggins has a master’s degree in criminal justice and previously worked at the Center for Human Development to support homeless families. He is also an associate member of the Monson Zoning Board of Appeals, he said.

The June 11 election included two additional contested races. These were for a position on the Select Board between three candidates and a position as Parks and Recreation commissioner between two candidates. In both races, the incumbent maintained their seat by a firm plurality with Patricia Oney winning a seat on the Select Board and Jan Michael DeMaio selected for a seat on the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Gilberto Ortiz was also reelected as water and sewer commissioner, Christopher Haley as a member of the Board of Assessors, Benjamin Murphy as highway surveyor and Sarah McNamara Pedder as cemetery commissioner in uncontested races.

The June 11 election saw a 26% turnout rate, according to official results from the Town Clerk. This is increased from the 21% turnout in 2023 and the 16% turnout in 2022.

Additionally, the election included a ballot question that asked residents to allow a Proposition 2 ½ debt exclusion for the $4.9 million project to upgrade energy service infrastructure in the town. In a May 30 information session on the ballot question, Finance Director Jamie Farnum explained that the project was previously authorized in 2020 and 2021 with the idea that it would be “budget neutral.” She stated that it was realized that the project would not be budget neutral in 2022.

The June 11 ballot question asked residents whether they wanted to continue funding the project through the town operating budget or change the funding source to a debt exclusion, Farnum said. She stated that the project was completed in May 2023.

Residents firmly voted against the debt exclusion during the election with a solid majority. With this decision, Farnum told Reminder Publishing that the payments for this project would remain on the operating budget moving forward.

While she noted that this will reduce the amount of funds in the budget for other costs, Farnum highlighted that the town would continue to look for other strategies to minimize the impact, acknowledging that inflation has made for a “tough time” for residents.

Farnum emphasized her appreciation to residents’ “open conversation,” stating that many people reached out to her with questions about the ballot question and that it was a “positive experience” to receive the feedback.