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04/23/14 10:32am
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO

The Riverhead School Board unanimously adopted a budget for next year on Tuesday night, opting to use additional state aid that recently came down the pike partly on more teachers next year, and partly to reduce the tax burden.

The proposed budget, a $121.2 million spending plan that proposes a tax levy increase of 2 percent, will require taxpayer approval next month.

Riverhead School District was given about $850,000 more in aid in a final state budget that was adopted last month. At the suggestion of Superintendent Nancy Carney, Riverhead’s tentative budget includes using $368,000 of the additional state aid to reduce the tax levy rate bump, which had previously stood at 2.4 percent. In addition, the district now proposes hiring two new English as a Second Language teachers.

The estimated tax hike is below the state-mandated allowable tax levy rate of 2.4 percent, or $93.8 million, which represents the increased amount the school can collect from property taxes with a simple majority vote.

As for boosting the district’s ESL program, Ms. Carney has said that during the 2005-06 school year, the district had 378 ESL students and 11 ESL teachers. Although the district’s ESL student population swelled to 870 students in 2013-14, the district only had 13 ESL teachers, she said.

School board vice president Greg Meyer had requested at the April 8 meeting that the district look into hiring at least another middle school guidance counselor.

Ms. Carney said during Tuesday’s meeting that funding for the new hire isn’t included in next year’s budget because her office is in the process of securing a grant that will allow the district to employ more guidance counselors.

In addition to voting on the budget, residents will also be asked to vote on two ballot proposition proposals.

The first one is for a $3.98 million bond proposal for bus purchases.

Ms. Carney has said that if the bond is approved, the district will be able to buy about 35 large propane-powered buses, as well as about five handicapped vans, over a five-year span.

Voters authorized a program in 2007 to purchase school buses each year, retiring old vehicles in the process.

However, that five-year program has ended and those funds have been spent.

The school board also approved a second ballot proposition to grant an easement to Long Island Head Start. Ms. Carney has said the district sold a portion of land at Phillips Avenue School in Riverside to Head Start for about $10 in 1994. During recent renovation work at Phillips, Ms. Carney said the county health department discovered the land transfer was “never formalized” and needs to be completed before any final permits are issued for a new sanitary system at the school.

04/21/14 5:29pm
04/21/2014 5:29 PM

Riverhead School District project update, May 2013

Five residents will be competing for three seats in this year’s Riverhead school board election, school officials confirmed Monday.

School board watchdog Laurie Downs of Riverhead will be on the ballot, along with former school board member Lori Hulse of Riverhead and Calverton resident Greg Fischer, who ran unsuccessfully last year for town assessor.

Incumbents Greg Meyer of Calverton and Riverhead resident Kim Ligon are seeking re-election to the seven member board.

Board president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse announced last year during her campaign for town supervisor that she will not seek re-election at the end of her second term.

The school board election and budget vote is May 20.

Check back to riverheadnewsreview.com as your source for complete budget and school board election coverage.

04/15/14 8:00am
04/15/2014 8:00 AM
Local veterans attended last month's Riverhead school board meeting to hear a presentation about a new tax exemption program for veterans. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

Local veterans attended last month’s Riverhead school board meeting to hear a presentation about a new tax exemption program for veterans. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

The Riverhead school board has set an April 22 public hearing to discuss a new property tax exemption for local veterans.

A vote on the exemption may take place following the meeting, which is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

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04/09/14 8:00am
04/09/2014 8:00 AM
Local veterans attended last month's Riverhead school board meeting to hear a presentation about a new tax exemption program for veterans. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

Local veterans attended last month’s Riverhead school board meeting to hear a presentation about a new tax exemption program for veterans. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

Following one of the most lengthy debates among Riverhead school board members in recent years on Tuesday night, the board unanimously approved setting a public hearing to discuss a new property tax exemption for local veterans.

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04/08/14 8:00am
04/08/2014 8:00 AM
The Riverhead school board is set vote on a new agreement with the district's non-instructional union. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

The Riverhead school board is set vote on a new agreement with the district’s non-instructional union. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

The Riverhead school board is expected to vote on a memorandum of agreement with a district union that doesn’t include teachers at Tuesday’s meeting, according to the agenda.

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