Ultra-conservative groups attempted to infiltrate several Hudson Valley school boards during yesterday's election. But mostly, the effort failed.

Polling sites were much more active than usual during Tuesday's school board elections. Voting for school budgets and board seats is usually a pretty quiet affair, but this year many parents who've never even paid attention to who was on the school board found themselves at the polls.

The election ends an unusually active campaign season for several Hudson Valley school board seats. You've most likely seen signs on lawns and roadways throughout Dutchess County with phrases like "Parents' Rights" and references to Jesus or religion. Extreme groups have been running candidates who follow their beliefs on controversial issues like masking, vaccination, gender education and critical race theory.

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The campaigning became ugly with some candidates posting signs saying "they masked your child" with an arrow pointing to their competitor's campaign sign. Over the past few weeks, some church groups even held private meetings with select candidates that were aligned with their views on gender and other hot-button issues.

With some important school budget votes on the line, several school districts were concerned that these fringe groups could block funds for much-needed resources. As a result, many parents who usually don't pay attention to school board elections found themselves at the polls.

The Wappingers Central School District successfully passed its budget, with incumbents Marie Johnson and Eddy Sloshower re-elected along with Cheril Migatz. Throughout the rest of Dutchess County, most budgets were passed and incumbents were re-elected in school districts such as Hyde Park, Arlington and Spackenkill.

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