All School Budgets Pass But Tuckahoe; Sag Harbor Agrees to Buy Stella Maris

School Vote
School budget results are in

All of the East End’s school budgets passed yesterday, with the exception of the proposed budget for the Tuckahoe School, which failed in a 146-145 vote.

The Tuckahoe School can now either chose to operate on a contingency budget next year or put the budget up for another vote. If it fails a second time, the district must adopt a contingency budget.

Tuckahoe was one of several local schools to attempt to pierce the tax cap, but tax cap-piercing budgets in Shelter Island, Bridgehampton, Greenport, East Quogue and Amagansett all passed along with the rest of the East End’s school budgets.

Voters in the Sag Harbor School District also approved the purchase of the Stella Maris School in a 736 to 595 vote, while voters in Southampton turned down a proposal to spend $7.75 million to buy and renovate property on Hampton Road in Southampton for use as a district office.

Here are some highlights of the contests throughout the East End:

Riverhead

Riverhead’s proposed $130,669,295 budget passed easily in a 1,635 to 948 vote.

School Board candidates Amelia Lantz, an incumbent, and Laurie Downs won three-year seats on the board, while incumbent Christopher Dorr was elected to serve out the last year of the term of Lori Hulse, who stepped down from the school board at the start of 2016 after she was elected as Riverhead Town Justice.

Ms. Lantz won 1,305 votes and Ms. Downs won 1,217. Mr. Dorr won 1,210 votes. They were followed by Tom Kruger with 1,129 votes, Greg Fischer with 977 votes and Bradford Harnig with 618 votes.

Sag Harbor

Sag Harbor’s proposed $38,773,989 budget was approved in a 997-328 vote. The district is proposing a $35,065,000 tax levy, up 2.98 percent, which is within the tax cap for the district, which is 3.2 percent.

Incumbent Chris Tice and challenger Susan Lamontagne ere elected to the school board. Ms. Tice won 738 votes and Ms. Lamongagne won 645. School Board President Susan Kinsella won just 641 votes and challenger Roxanne Briggs took home 428.

Voters in the Sag Harbor School District also approved the purchase of the Stella Maris School in a 736 to 595 vote.

The purchase will be made through a bond not to exceed $10,233,500. The Sag Harbor School District hopes to use the Stella Maris building as a pre-Kindergarten and full-time cay care center, freeing up space in the middle school for older students.

The district would spend $3.3 million to buy the Stella Maris building and $6.9 million to renovate it.

Greenport

Greenport’s tax cap-piercing budget passed in a 320 to 160 vote — a 66 percent approval rating. The school needed 60 percent of the vote in order to pass a budget that pierced the tax cap.

Incumbent board members Heather Wolf and Christina Volinski were re-elected, running unopposed. Ms. Volinski took home 376 votes and Ms. Wolf took home 353. There were 25 write-in votes.

Mattituck-Cutchogue

The Mattituck-Cutchogue School District received voter approval for their proposed  $40,333,921 budget for 2016-17, a decrease in spending of 1.44 percent. The budget carries a $33,631,355 tax levy, up .4985 percent.

The vote was 598 to 185 in favor of the budget.

In the seven-person race for three school board seats, challengers MaryLynn Hoeg (468 votes) and Barbara Talbot were elected to three-year terms on the board, while challenger Brian Mealy was elected to serve the last year of Jerry Diffley’s term.

Ms. Hoeg won 468 votes, Ms. Talbot won 365 and Mr. Mealy won 310.

Incumbent William Gatz was unsuccessful in his re-election bid, with 308 votes. George Haase took home 307 votes, Edward Hassildine took home 166 votes and Tonya Kaiser-Witczak took home 157.

Tuckahoe

The Tuckahoe school district’s $19,533,000 budget for 2016-17, which carried a 2.48 percent tax levy increase, was defeated in a 146-145 vote. The district was only allowed a .38 percent tax levy increase without the approval of 60 percent of the voters.

The Tuckahoe School can now either chose to operate on a contingency budget next year or put the budget up for another vote. If it fails a second time, the district must adopt a contingency budget.

Incumbent school board member Daniel Crough, running unopposed, was re-elected to his seat.

Shelter Island

Shelter Island narrowly passed its tax cap-piercing $10,966,854 budget for 2016-17 in a 311 to 205 vote Tuesday — just 60.27 percent of voters were in favor of the budget, while 60 percent were required for it to pass.

While the total budget next year will decrease by .22 percent, the budget carries a 5.92 percent increase in the tax levy.

School Board President Thomas Graffagnino and Mark Kanarvogel, running unopposed, were both re-elected with 445 and 390 votes, respectively.

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Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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