School board incumbent trustees Laurie Downs and Matthew Wallace embrace after news of their reelection Tuesday night. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead Central School District voters Tuesday approved the district’s $169.7 million operating budget for the upcoming school year and re-elected incumbent trustees Laurie Downs and Matthew Wallace, who beat back a challenge by newcomer Andrew Nadeau.

The budget passed by a vote of 1,658 yes to 990 no — 62.6% to 37.4%.

Votes cast for school board were:

Wallace: 1,915
Downs: 1,897
Nadeau: 822
Write-ins: 74

Voters also approved, by a vote of 2,048 to 590, the expenditure of up to $56,000 in cafeteria capital reserve funds to purchase cafeteria equipment for three school buildings.

The numbers provided by District Clerk Lisa Rheaume include absentee ballots received by the district as of Tuesday.

District administrators, teachers, staff and members of the public gathered in the Roanoke Elementary School cafeteria to await the results as the polls closed around the district. After the results were announced, the room broke out in applause.

Then Downs convened a special meeting of the board of education to accept the results of the election, which the school board did unanimously, 6-0, with trustee Christopher Dorr absent.

Riverhead school board members vote to accept the results of the May 17 election after the results were read aloud. Photo: Denise Civiletti

In interviews after the meeting, Wallace and Downs both thanked the community for its support of the budget.

“We really needed this budget to pass,” Downs said.

Both incumbents said they appreciate the trust placed in them by district voters and are looking forward to another three-year term.

“I can’t wait to get started on another three years,” Downs said.

“Working with the new superintendent, moving forward, there are a lot of changes for the positive going on,” Wallace said.

Trustee Matthew Wallace and School Superintendent Augustine Tornatore after the vote Tuesday night. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Superintendent Augustine Tornatore said he is extremely pleased with the election result. “I went to thank the residents for supporting the district —more importantly, for supporting our students because I’m very excited by what we’re going to have available for our students next year,” Tornatore said.

He said he remains cognizant of the district’s fiscal realities, “keeping in mind I need to be as conservative as I can while still providing students with more programs and offerings.”

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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.