Pulaski Street Elementary School in April 2020. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead schools got a big boost in state aid in the final budget deal reached last night between the governor and state legislative leaders.

Total state aid to the Riverhead Central School District will increase 42.08% in 2021-2022, to $46,845,668 — a dollar increase of more than $14 million. Foundation aid, which is included in the total figure, will rise by nearly 72%.

In addition, Riverhead will receive nearly $18.9 million in federal relief funds: nearly $12.8 million in American Rescue Plan funding and nearly $6.1 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act funding.

Overall New York State will pay out about $12 billion in federal relief funding approved by Congress in three bills passed in 2020 and 2021. The three bills provide $190.5 billion to the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Education Relief Fund, which is distributed to local education agencies by the states.

“We are incredibly grateful to Assemblyman Thiele, Senator Palumbo, and Assemblywoman Giglio for their hard work and advocacy on behalf of the Riverhead Central School District,” Acting Superintendent Christine Tona said. “For the first time in more than a decade, we have received state aid at a level commensurate with our need,” she said.

The total state aid amount for Riverhead Central School District under the negotiated budget deal is 43.8% more than the governor proposed in his executive budget earlier

“We are thrilled that the state recognized Riverhead needed an increase in foundation aid. For too long our district has been shortchanged,” Riverhead Central Faculty Association president Gregory Wallace said today. “This welcomed increased will go a long way to bolstering our programs and providing additional support services to the children of the district.”

Tona said the district looks forward to “continued improvements in our academic and support programs for the benefit of the students of this district. We are awaiting additional details regarding the process and requirements for the use of the federal funds.”

Correction: The total state aid amount was incorrectly stated in a pervious version of this article. The amount originally reported included universal pre-K funding, which is not state education aid although it is listed in the state education runs published by the state.

Support local journalism.
Now more than ever, the survival of quality local journalism depends on your support. Our community faces unprecedented economic disruption, and the future of many small businesses are under threat, including our own. It takes time and resources to provide this service. We are a small family-owned operation, and we will do everything in our power to keep it going. But today more than ever before, we will depend on your support to continue. Support RiverheadLOCAL today. You rely on us to stay informed and we depend on you to make our work possible.

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.