School board President Brian Connelly, left, Vice President Colin Palmer, and members Virginia Healy and Therese Zuhoski, with Superintendent Augustine Tornatore react to announcement of the budget vote results. Photo: Alek Lewis

Riverhead school district voters approved a $192 million spending plan for the 2023-2024 school year Tuesday by a vote of 1,333 to 769 — a margin of 63% to 37%.

“I want to thank the community for supporting the district and this budget,” Superintendent Augustine Tornatore said to a crowd of around 40 people who waited for the election results at Roanoke Avenue Elementary School. “There’s a lot of great things that we have for our students for next year and I’m eternally grateful that the community supported this.”

School board President Brian Connelly said he was “ecstatic” about the voter’s approval of the budget. “I want to thank the community, everybody for their hard work,” he said.

Virginia Healy, Erica Murphy, Cynthia Redmond and James Scudder were elected to the Riverhead Board of Education in Tuesday’s balloting. All four successful candidates were supported by the Riverhead Central Faculty Association.

Scudder, who came in fourth among seven candidates, will fill the vacancy created when board Vice President Laurie Downs resigned in March.

Riverhead School District trustees-elect Erica Murphy, left and Cynthia Redmond, right, flank re-elected Trustee Virginia Healy after the three women and Trustee-Elect James Scudder, who did not attend the vote-count, were declared winners Tuesday night. Photo:Alek Lewis

“Thank you to all the voters coming out to vote for me,” said Healy, of Wading River, who won her second term on the board. “I will do my best to represent all the children, to make sure that all good things happen in the district.” 

Murphy, of Manorville, said she looks “forward to joining an awesome board and doing great things and keep moving Riverhead forward into whatever is to come.”

“I’m just so excited that the budget passed that the community is showing support for the school district — and I’m so excited to work with this team,” Redmond, of Aquebogue, said. “I think that even better things are ahead for Riverhead.”

School board vote tally:

Virginia Healy – 1,357

Erica Murphy – 1,299

Cynthia Redmond – 1,150

James Scudder – 1,005

David Dougherty – 912

Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht – 645

Kimberly Wilder – 493

There were also two write-in ballots cast.

The adopted budget of $191,999,210 represents a 13.1% increase over the current year. It maintains the current number of full-time school district faculty and staff, although it absorbs the cost of some of those employees currently funded by coronavirus stimulus funds received by the district, according to Tornatore.

“We’re thrilled that the community has supported the budget and supported the students in this district,” Riverhead Central Faculty Association President Greg Wallace said.

Alek Lewis contributed reporting.

Editor’s note: This article was amended the day after initial publication to include comments from the superintendent, school board president and winning school board candidates.

Correction: This article was amended after initial publication to correct the spelling of the name of school board candidate David Dougherty.

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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.