Photo: Denise Civiletti

Voters go to the polls tomorrow to give the Riverhead school district’s proposed $144.4 operating budget thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

Voters will also fill two seats on the Riverhead school board. Four candidates are seeking election, among them two incumbents.

The proposed operating budget for 2019-2020 represents a 2.88-percent increase over the adopted budget for 2018-2019. The tax levy required to fund the proposed budget — $99.9 million — is within the tax levy limitation mandated by state law for the coming school year.

The administrative component represents 8.2 percent of the proposed total budget. The program component represents 77 percent. The capital component equals 15.2 percent of the proposed total budget.

Expenditures include $6.56 million in tuition payable to the Riverhead Charter School. The district will pay $17,974 per student from the Riverhead Central School District attending the charter school — an anticipated 365 students in 2019-2020.

Student enrollment in the district has increased about 17 percent in the past decade, from 4,816 students in 2009-2010 to 5,595 in 2018-2019.

The district’s annual operating budget has increased more than 40 percent in that same period.

Two additional propositions are on the ballot tomorrow.

Proposition 2 – Bus Purchase Plan Budget: A five-year plan to spend $3.9 million to purchase about 44 new buses. The cost will be funded with bonding. Voters previously authorized, in 2007 and 2014, school bus replacement programs. If the proposition is approved, the future debt service will remain constant with current figures under the program, according to district data.

Proposition 3 – Cafeteria Capital Reserve Expenditure: The Cafeteria Capital Reserve fund, established by voters last May has $400,000. The monies in this fund are not taxpayer dollars. The district seeks authorization to spend up to $275,000 from the Cafeteria Capital Reserve for the following projects:

  • Convert the walk-in refrigerator at the high school loading dock to a walk-in freezer
  • Replace the doors and improve the loading dock at the high school
  • Convert the dry goods storage room at the middle school
    kitchen to a walk-in freezer
  • Improve the kitchen entryway at the middle school
Candidates in the 2019 Riverhead school board election are, clockwise from top left: Jerome Bost, Laurie Downs, Matthew Wallace and Elizabeth Silva.

Incumbent trustees Laurie Downs and Elizabeth Silva are seeking re-election to their second terms of office in tomorrow’s polling. They are facing challenges from Jerome Bost and Matthew Wallace, who are supported by the Riverhead Central Faculty Association. See prior story.

The trustee position is an unpaid position. The term of office is three years.

Voting will be held at the district’s four elementary schools, which are designated polling places for that purpose (Riley Avenue Elementary School, Aquebogue Elementary School, Phillips Avenue Elementary School, and Roanoke Avenue Elementary School) between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Voters cast ballots at the school where children residing at their address would attend elementary school.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.