Education

Riverhead BOE votes down proposal to spend reserve fund money on cafeteria upgrades

A proposal to spend up to $16,000 to purchase a double convection oven, a four-burner stove and a warming cabinet for Phillips Avenue Elementary School failed to get the votes needed to appear on the May 18 ballot at Tuesday’s Riverhead Board of Education meeting. 

The money was proposed to come from a Cafeteria Capital Reserve Fund approved by voters in May 2018, which established a reserve of up to $4 million to be funded by profits from the school cafeteria. 

Board members Susan Koukounas and Matt Wallace voted in favor of allocating the $16,000, but Laurie Downs, Brian Connelly, Virginia Healy and Therese Zuhoski were opposed. Chris Dorr was absent due to a death in the family. 

Ms. Koukounas said the cafeteria pays for itself and doesn’t rely on the general fund money.

“This is smart,” she said of the plan to use the reserve fund for the cafeteria upgrade, noting that the money is not coming from taxpayers. 

“I don’t want anything attached to this budget that’s going to make anybody think we are looking for more than we need,” Ms. Downs said. 

The current year’s budget was rejected by voters in May 2020, resulting in the loss of some sports and extracurricular activities. 

“It’s imperative to pass this budget,” Ms. Zuhoski said. “The board can put the cafeteria improvements off to another time.”