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Top Stories 2017: SWR voters replace BOE incumbents amid Disney trip controversy

The Shoreham-Wading River Board of Education faced much scrutiny this past spring after it passed a resolution allowing the district to spend about $150,000 for 181 students to attend the senior class trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. 

The district funded the majority of the 2016-17 school year trip for the first time, with students chipping in $200 each. In 2015-16, the district funded $9,270, with the 73 participating students each paying $930, Newsday reported.

Originally, the district was going to cancel the trip, but reinstated it after being convinced by seniors in the 2016-17 class that the Florida trip had educational value.

After public outcry over the trip’s price tag, the district announced it had appropriated $40,000 in the 2017-18 budget to cover only the educational aspects of the following year’s trip. But residents still felt this to be too much, so the district announced that the $40,00 would remain in the following year’s budget but was no longer designated for the Disney trip.

Residents let their displeasure be heard. They voted to pass the budget in May, but voted out incumbent Board of Education members Jack Costas and John Zukowski, who was president at the time.

With two additional seats open, as former board member William McGrath decided not to run and Michael Fucito moved out of the district, residents elected four newcomers to fill the seats — Katie Andersen, Erin Hunt, Henry Perez and Michael Yannucci.

Mr. Yannucci was elected to fill the remaining year of Mr. Fucito’s term, which expires in June 2018. The other three new board members serve full three-year terms.

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Photo Caption: John Zukowski and Jack Costas lost their seats on the Shoreham-Wading River School Board in May. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)