Riverhead Central School District's administrative office on Osborn Avenue. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead’s $147.1 million school budget proposal was rejected by voters 3,173 against to 2,847 in favor, the Riverhead Central School District announced this afternoon after the vote tally was completed.

Incumbents Therese Zuhoski and Christopher Dorr were returned to office and newcomer Virginia Healy was elected to the Board of Education.

The proposition authorizing expenditure of up to up to $469,470 from the Cafeteria Capital Reserve Fund passed by a vote of 3969 to 2050.

Vote results in the school board election were as follows:

Therese Zuhoski – 2479
Christopher Dorr – 1954
Virgina Healy – 1877
Ann Cotton-DeGrasse – 1715
Angela DeVito – 1589
Stephanie Ranghelli – 1391
Gregory-John Fischer – 1150
Yolanda Thompson – 1297
Ryan Gregor – 1131
Amelia Lantz – 890

This is only the fourth time since 1997 that Riverhead Central School District voters rejected a proposed operating budget. Voters turned down budgets in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

Voter participation in this election, the first to be conducted by mail only, was much higher than in typical school elections, which saw an average of. 2,752 votes cast from 2010-2019. Voter turnout topped 3,000 only twice in the past decade — in 2010, when 3,650 votes were cast and 2011 when 3,089 voters cast ballots.

Editor’s note: The vote results originally provided by the school district’s public relations firm had a typo in number reported as “yes” votes for the budget. It is 2,847 in favor, not 2,487 as originally reported.

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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.