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School board members suggest spending reserves for sports and music

Riverhead Board of Education member Chris Dorr is asking his colleagues to revisit the idea of “dipping into reserves to fund sports, music and extracurricular activities,” now that Governor Andrew Cuomo has allowed athletics to return. 

Mr. Dorr made his request at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. 

“I think this is something we owe to our students and our children of Riverhead,” he said. “Educate the whole child, not just in the classroom but also what they get through music theater, arts and sports.”

Board member Brian Connelly said he has suggested dipping into the reserves in the past. He said the district now has clarification from the governor as to what sports will be allowed, with football and volleyball not being able to play games until later in the year, but being able to practice as of Sept. 21. 

“It’s giving kids hope,” he said. “It’s giving parents and kids hope to do these things.” 

Mr. Connelly said the district talks about reserves as rainy day or emergency funds, but that this is the rainy day or the emergency.

“Our job is to find that money and find a way to get it done,” he said. 

“This is an opportunity to do something great here,” he said. “I understand we’re not going be able to fund every single club or sport.  

Board member Therese Zuhoski said she agreed with Mr. Connelly. 

Board member Susan Koukounas did not. 

“Governor Cuomo is already saying that he will most likely decrease at least 20% of our state aid, so to dip into reserves will be like cutting off our foot for next year,” she said.