03/13/13 3:40pm

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Riverhead superintendent Nancy Carney speaks at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

After being made aware of allegations of improper security at the February 5  boys basketball game, we conducted an investigation by interviewing those in attendance and reviewing security camera footage.  It is clear to me that our security guards, including Senior Guard Don Henderson, acted appropriately throughout the game in keeping order and enforcing civility in the crowd.  I applaud the efforts of Mr. Henderson and the other guards, along with the Riverhead Town Police, who prevented the incident from escalating into a physical confrontation.

The allegations made by a Smithtown resident and his daughter were serious, but it is clear to me that the facts do not back up their version of events.  I have no doubt that they found the incident to be unsettling, but the reactions of our security guards were appropriate and helpful.

Riverhead High School athletic events are intended to be welcoming to all fans who are there to support student athletes as they compete in their chosen sports.  We recognize that fans can become enthusiastic as they cheer on the players.  We welcome that zest and enthusiasm as long as it falls within the confines of good sportsmanship and behavior.  Our security guards are well aware of that policy and work professionally to enforce those rules.

05/11/11 1:08pm

Last week’s News-Review Guest Spot column (“Why a school bond is so hard to swallow” by Janet Bidwell) contained statements that require additional information for the residents of the Riverhead Central School District.

The rate of contribution is set by the New York State Employees’ Retirement System and the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System through existing state laws. Local districts have no control over the rates. The percentage increase for retirement contributions from this school year to the 2011-12 year will be the same for every district in the state.

When comparing Riverhead’s taxes to taxes in Water Mill, Quogue or even Southold, one must look at Combined Wealth Ratio (CWR), the property wealth and income wealth supporting each student in the schools. According to the New York State Education Department’s latest available data, Southampton schools have 6 1/2 times the wealth behind each student, Quogue almost 10 times and Southold almost 2 times the wealth behind each student, resulting in lower taxes in those districts, per household.

New York State has reduced state aid by $2.3 million dollars for the residents of Riverhead schools for 2011-12. This represents the major reason for the property tax increase.

Riverhead’s Board of Education has cut over $4 million from next year’s budget and at the same time maintained all programs for 2011-12. The budget increase of 1.26 percent for 2011-12 is below accepted cost of living increases.

The buildings do not need “repairs,” as the column asserted, they need total renovations and upgrading. The average age of the schools exceeds 60 years. They have outlived their expected life spans. Riverhead has a fine custodial and maintenance staff, but you can only patch a roof so many times.

The reason the operations and maintenance budget is relatively flat is because the residents of the district approved a $10 million capital program in 2005 to make limited improvements in the buildings.

A separate proposition for a $5 million dollar repair fund is on the ballot to provide for repairs, pending approval of permanent financing of improvements later this year.

By separate funding in a capital program or in a repair fund, the district is able to maximize state building aid.

Ms. Carney is the Riverhead Central School District superintendent. She lives in Aquebogue.