Riverhead district OK’s land rights sale, names faculty it’s laying off

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead superintendent Nancy Carney (center-left) and school board members at Tuesday nights meeting at Riverhead High School.

The Riverhead school board Tuesday night approved the sale of development rights on district-owned land in Aquebogue to Suffolk County.

The board voted unanimously to sell the development rights on 25 acres of farmland on Tuthills Lane to the county for $1,325,000, according to the district’s resolution.

It the deal goes through, it means that no matter who owns the land moving forward, that person or entity can only use it for farming.

Once signed by the district, the contract still needs to go to the county Legislature for approval, said Bill Faulk, an aide to county Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Moriches), whose legislative district includes Riverhead.

Under the plan, the school district would retain the building rights to two acres of the 27-acre parcel in case a future owner wants to build a farmhouse there, said board president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse.

“I think it will make everyone in Aquebogue happy to know that it will remain farmland,” Ms. DeGrasse said.

The resolution also calls on the board to start shopping the land itself.

“The Board of Education hereby directs the District administration to conduct a bid to sell the remaining title of the property to the highest bidder,” the resolution reads.

Mr. Faulk reminded that it’s no guarantee the Legislature approves the deal.

The district originally bought the land in 1965 for $34,000 to build a school there. The school was never built, and the district had been leasing the land to sod farmers.

In 2008, the district proposed using the land to build a bus garage and YMCA, but the plans were squashed in part by stiff community opposition.


The board also finalized which teachers would be laid off at the end of this year, a measure that helped keep the 2012-13 school budget under the state-mandated tax levy cap.

Nine teachers and nine teaching assistants will be cut, and an additional five civil service positions and two “neighborhood aides” will be laid off, effective June 30.

Among the teachers are Natacha Volcy, a high school guidance counselor, Lindsay Lindenbaum, a middle school health teacher, Amy Doucette, a home and careers teacher at the high and middle schools, Nicole Sapienza, a high school math teacher, James Korte, a middle school math teacher, Lori Falisi, a middle school english teacher, Timothy McCready, a science teacher at the Star Academy, Jacqueline Andrejack, a special education teacher at Aquebogue Elementary School, and Scott Bunin, a technology teacher at the middle and Pulaski Street schools.

The teaching assistants include Alissa Behr, Amanda Bendick, Darlene Folkes, Laura Sauter, all of Aquebogue Elementary School, Linda Mikelinich and Carolyn Vanston, of Philips Avenue school, Sandra Quinteros of the High School, and Diane Graziano of Roanoke Elementary School.

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