Newly elected school district trustee Colin Palmer speaks with three-term member Susan Koukounas, who lost her re-election bid Tuesday. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead school district voters approved a $159.4 million operating budget for the 2021-2022 school year today by a vote of 2,237 to 886 — 72% to 28%.

Brian Connelly was re-elected and Colin Palmer was elected to the board of education. They were the top two vote-getters in a field of six candidates, winning 1,392 and 1,309 respectively.

Vote tallies for the other candidates were:
Susan Koukounas: 1,215
Yolanda Thompson: 850
Monique Parsons: 709
Shannon Reitz: 602

Koukounas has served three terms on the school board. “I always believe change is good,” she said after the results were announced. “It’s a sign that my energy, my work should be elsewhere,” Koukounas said. “I wish the best to the new board.”

Colin Palmer said he was “genuinely surprised” by his victory. “I didn’t think I was going to win,” he said. “I’m very excited. I’m looking forward to be able to do some good for the district,” he said. “I’m ready to hit the ground running.”

“I want to thank everybody in the community for their support and all the parents who helped get the message out,” board president Laurie Downs said after the vote.

Trustee Brian Connelly, left, is congratulated on his re-election by fellow trustee Matt Wallace. Photo: Denise Civiletti

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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.