05/19/15 10:27pm
05/19/2015 10:27 PM

 

Sue Koukounas, center, and Ann Cotten-DeGrasse, right, were the top two vote-getters on Tuesday night. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Sue Koukounas, center, and Ann Cotten-DeGrasse, right, were the top two vote-getters on Tuesday night. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The Riverhead school budget passed Tuesday night and in the five-way race for two open school board seats in Riverhead, Sue Koukounas and Ann Cotten-DeGrasse were elected to three-year terms.

As for the the three propositions, all three of them passed.

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05/13/15 8:00am
05/13/2015 8:00 AM

As it turns out, there is such a thing as a free lunch … and breakfast.

Beginning next fall, all students in the Roanoke Avenue and Phillips Avenue elementary schools will get a free lunch and a free breakfast at school on a daily basis, courtesy of the New York State Education Department program called “Community Eligibility Provision.”

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04/21/15 10:01am
04/21/2015 10:01 AM
Former Riverhead school board president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse is running for school board this May. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

Former Riverhead school board president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse is running for school board this May. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

Ann Cotten-DeGrasse wants her seat back and some familiar names will oppose her.

The former Riverhead school board president is among four challengers facing one incumbent for two open seats in next month’s election along with past candidates Greg Fischer and Laurie Downs, newcomer Brad Harnig, and incumbent board vice president Susan Koukounas.

Trustee Tom Carson is not seeking a second term, paving the way for at least one seat to change hands.

Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse served on the school board for six years before stepping away last June. She announced in 2013 during her Democratic primary campaign for town supervisor that she would not seek re-election at the end of her second school board term in 2014.

“As much as I thought I was going to back off and walk away, I just can’t,” Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse said when asked why she’s decided to run again. “There’s a whole lot of things that are out there that have to be overcome because of what’s happening with the state and state aid being tied into [teacher evaluations].”

As for her feelings about running against her former fellow school board members, Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse said, “I feel it will shake out the way it will shake out.”

Mr. Fischer said he believes the odds are in favor of the incumbent Ms. Koukounas and Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse, a former president of the teacher’s union. He said with likely support from the teachers, the other three candidates will likely struggle to get votes.

“It’s an uphill battle,” he said.

Mr. Fischer knows all about that, having run unsuccessfully for six different offices in the past eight years, including school board last year.

If elected, he said he will explore ways to modernize the current curriculum in the district to offer more trade and business entrepreneurship programs. He also said he has developed his own programs that he would offer district students independently and free of charge.

“I have one program for inventors that I’m hoping to run in June,” he said. “Any kid who is interested in inventing can become a billionaire.”

Ms. Downs said that she is a unique candidate because she represents no particular special interests. A longtime district watchdog, she said she values no one program over another, has no ties to any school unions and her children have already graduated from the district.

“I have no agenda other than doing what I’m supposed to do as far as being open to the community,” she said. “I want to make sure the public is informed about what’s going on with the district.”

A longtime attendee of school board meetings, she said that hasn’t always been the case with the board.

“What I see on the outside is the board is still not talking to people and not giving answers,” she said. “You ask a question and they stare at you.”

Ms. Koukonas, Mr. Carson and Mr. Harnig could not be immediately reached for comment.

In Shoreham-Wading River, incumbents Michael Fucito and Robert Rose are running unopposed.

Mr. Fucito has served for over two decades Mr. Rose was first elected in 2012.

The school board election and budget vote is May 19 in both districts. All school board seats are for three years, expiring in 2018.

gparpan@timesreview.com

04/15/15 10:08am
04/15/2015 10:08 AM
Riverhead Superintendent Nancy Carney speaks at Tuesday's budget presentation. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Riverhead Superintendent Nancy Carney speaks at Tuesday’s budget presentation. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

The Riverhead school board has adopted a $125.9 million budget that would increase spending by 3.81 percent over the current year.

The proposed 2015-16 budget also includes an estimated 3.94 percent hike, or nearly $3.6 million, to the tax levy.  (more…)

03/11/15 11:00am
03/11/2015 11:00 AM
A turf field is being proposed in Riverhead that would be build behind McKillop Field. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

A turf field is being proposed in Riverhead that would be built behind McKillop Field. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

The architect who designed the Riverhead School District’s capital improvement bond project gave a presentation Tuesday outlining a new proposal to install a turf field at the high school.

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03/11/15 8:00am
The Riverhead school board at Tuesday's meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

The Riverhead school board at Tuesday’s meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Students and teachers in Riverhead could soon say goodbye to their mid-winter break.

A proposal for the 2015-16 school calendar for the Riverhead School District would establish new breaks during the spring instead of the traditional five-day break in February. The district is considering the change since time off during winter breaks surrounding the holidays, coupled with snow days, has become disruption to student instruction.

But some say more discussion is needed before the change is made.

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