The Riverhead Board of Education at its Jan. 7 meeting, where it approved a $97 million capital plan and scheduled a Feb. 25 vote on the proposal.

Riverhead Central School District taxpayers will vote Feb. 25 on the district’s $97 million capital plan to expand and improve school facilities in an effort to address the needs of the growing student population.

The Board of Education in a pair of unanimous votes last night approved the capital plan and the Feb. 25 election.

Voters will be asked to approve two propositions in next month’s vote.

Proposition 1 covers expansion and improvements to school buildings and construction of a new Pupil Personnel Services building, as well as infrastructure and security improvements and site work, at a total cost to taxpayers of $87,749,340. The proposition will also authorize, in addition, the expenditure of up to $500,000 from the “Cafeteria Capital Reserve Fund” to pay a portion of the cost of the plan.

In presentations and documents provided by the district, the Proposition 1 expenditures comprise: $62,184,237 for “spatial” needs, including new classrooms, for students in grades 9-12, 5-6 and K-4; $18,007,500 in infrastructure improvements; $4,732,604 for a new PPS building and parking; and $3,325,000 for safety/security improvements and compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The final plan does not include a new district office, which had been part of the original proposal presented by the district.

Revised student population projections prepared for the district by Western Suffolk BOCES indicate the total student body will grow by nearly 300 students in the next decade. Nearly all of that increase — a projected 265 students — will be in the high school, according to the projections. The high school is already at 104% of its capacity per State Education Department standards.

Proposition 2 covers improvements to various athletic fields, including the conversion of McKillop field to synthetic turf and an expansion of the parking area at the Pulaski complex, at a total cost of $8,800,000. This plan covered by this proposition was scaled back from its original, with the proposed “field house” eliminated from the final version. Proposition 2, if approved by voters, can only be effective if the voters approve Proposition 1.

Three more public information meetings set

The district has scheduled three additional public information meetings: today at noon at Riverhead Free Library; Saturday, Feb. 1 at 9 a.m. at Riverhead High School; Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at Riverhead High School.

Officials have already held several community forums since first unveiling the capital plan proposal in September. The plan has been revised based on feedback from the community, officials said.

Repair Reserve Fund expenditures approved

The board last night also approved the expenditure of $1,110,555 from the district’s 2017 repair reserve fund for various repairs and upgrades at each of the school buildings.

These consist of: repairing and replacing stage lighting at the high school; repairing and replacing select classroom and ancillary flooring at the middle school; repairing and replacing
sidewalks, curbs, ramps ​and replacing gym wall finishes at Pulaski Street Elementary School; repairing and replacing select playground equipment and safety surface at Aquebogue Elementary School; repairing and replacing select external and internal doors and hardware at Phillips Avenue Elementary School; repairing and replacing the cafetorium ceiling at Riley Avenue Elementary School; and repairing and replacing select windows at Roanoke Avenue Elementary School.

In other action last night, the school board:

Accepted the resignation of social studies teacher and girls track coach Justin Cobis, effective Jan. 19. Board president Greg Meyer said Cobis has accepted a position in the Southampton school district.

Accepted the resignation of school psychologist Jennifer Lopez, effective Dec. 31, 2019.

Appointed, with Trustee Laurie Downs dissenting, school custodial supervisor Ryan Jacobellis to the position of assistant plant facilities administrator at an annual salary of $120,000.

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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.