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May 16, 2018 11:37 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

All School Budgets Pass West Of Shinnecock Canal

May 17, 2018 12:10 PM

Voters in all six school districts west of the Shinnecock Canal approved school budgets without piercing a state-mandated cap on tax levy increases, with several school districts passing propositions that will significantly affect the upcoming school year.

Westhampton Beach

In Westhampton Beach, the $57.1 million budget passed, 295-66, on Tuesday. Taxpayers also agreed to reduce the term lengths of Board of Education members from five to three years in a 310-45 vote, and approved a $2,258,392 proposition for the Westhampton Free Library budget, 282-77.

Incumbent Halsey Stevens was reelected with 215 votes. Heather Wright, a newcomer, was elected to the School Board with 303 votes. Stacy Rubio, a write-in candidate, received 97 votes.

East Quogue

In East Quogue, voters approved the district’s $25.1 million budget, 442-122.

Taxpayers also approved a proposition to modify the district’s public transportation eligibility from the existing 1 mile to a half mile—increasing the number of students who would be eligible for busing, rather than being required to walk to school. The change will increase transportation costs by about $60,000 in September, which will be financed by tapping the district’s $1 million unassigned reserve fund surplus, according to Superintendent Robert Long.

Two additional propositions were also approved Tuesday night. The first authorized the school district to establish a capital reserve fund for improvements such as instructional and non-instructional space renovations and upgrades. Proposition 3 enables residents of the school district to have the benefit of full library services through the Suffolk Cooperative Library System at a total cost of $641,059 for the 2018-19 school year, giving them access to libraries in Westhampton Beach, Quogue, Hampton Bays and Center Moriches.

Incumbent Chris Hudson was reelected to serve his second three-year term on the board with 492 votes. “I am excited for the future of our school and am honored to serve another term,” Mr. Hudson said.

Hampton Bays

In Hampton Bays, taxpayers approved a proposition authorizing the Board of Education to spend as much as $149,000 for school safety and security enhancements, including a school resource officer. The proposition passed, 607-233.

The SRO is to be paid an estimated $55,000 plus benefits and will be placed in one or more of the district’s schools starting in September, according to Superintendent Lars Clemensen.

The district’s 2018-19 $52.5 million operating budget passed, 573-263.

Residents also authorized the district to spend up to $300,000 to finance various repairs and renovations from the unappropriated and unassigned fund balance from the 2017-18 school year.

In an uncontested race, newcomer Anne Culhane and incumbent Elizabeth Scully both earned seats on the School Board with 668 votes each.

Quogue

The Quogue School District was one of three districts west of the Shinnecock Canal with a contested race for school board.

In a 94-33 vote, newcomer Timothy Carbone defeated incumbent Hector Joseph Silva, who had filled a vacant seat left by the resignation of Dr. Anael Alston in 2016 and was seeking his first full three-year term.

“Having been a lifelong citizen of Quogue and a teacher in the Quogue School for 39 years, I feel it is time I pay back the school for all it has given me,” Mr. Carbone said in a statement on Wednesday.

Taxpayers also approved the proposed $8.3 million operating budget for the 2018-19 school year, 112-20. Voters also approved a proposition authorizing the district to levy $793,975 from taxpayers to fund the Quogue Library budget for the next year.

Remsenburg-Speonk

Voters approved the district’s proposed $14 million operating budget for the 2018-19 school year, 179-60.

Remsenburg-Speonk residents were also asked to choose between two newcomers and one incumbent vying for two open seats on the five-member School Board.

Jennifer Ashley of Remsenburg was reelected to a second three-year term, earning 178 votes. Salvatore Barbieri and Mary Greiner competed for a second seat currently held by Heather Carriero, who opted not to seek another term. Ms. Greiner beat Mr. Barbieri, 156-72.

“I’m feeling excited about the opportunity to serve the community, in particular the students of the community,” Ms. Greiner said on Wednesday.

Additionally, district residents approved two propositions. The first authorized a contract with the Westhampton Beach Union Free School District and Eastport South Manor Central School District for the education of students in seventh through 12th grade for the 2018-19 school year. Proposition 3 authorized a contract with the Suffolk Cooperative Library System for access to the library service for one year for a cost of no more than $269,651.

Eastport South Manor

In a 1,096-388 vote, Eastport South Manor taxpayers approved the district’s $93.5 million operating budget for the 2018-19 school year, which slashes approximately 70 full-time staff positions in an attempt to close a $4.7 million budget gap.

Voters also had to choose among six candidates—five of whom are newcomers—in a contest for two open seats on the board. Both President Kenneth Cooke and board member Ginny Chuchin opted not to seek reelection.

Danielle Warsaw of Manor Park and Marion Diener of Manorville were elected to the School Board, earning 614 and 642 votes, respectively. They beat newcomers Kaitlyn Gambina of Mastic, Larry Brown Jr. of Manorville, Christine Burst of Eastport, and Tara Mazovec of South Manor.

“I am honored to serve as a voice for the ESM community,” Ms. Warsaw said.

Ms. Diener is the only candidate who is not a newcomer. In previous years, prior to the merger of the two school districts, she served as vice president of the South Manor Board of Education, as well as a member of the Eastport South Manor Centralized High School Board of Education.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Ms. Diener said to Ms. Warsaw after hearing the results on Tuesday.

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