Voters in local school districts will be asked to vote on the 2021-22 budgets and more this Tuesday, May 18.
In Riverhead, polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and residents vote at the corresponding elementary school a child in their household would attend. For questions about where to vote, call 631-369-4724. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Shoreham-Wading River, where voting takes place in the high school gymnasium.
The voting process returns to the typical setup after the elections were delayed last year due to the pandemic and voting was done entirely via absentee ballot. The absentee system, in which voters automatically received a ballot in the mail, led to a surge in votes compared to normal years.
Six candidates are vying for two open seats on the Riverhead Board of Education. In Shoreham Wading River, two incumbents, James Smith and Robert Rose, are running unopposed.
In Riverhead, the proposed 2021-2022 budget of $159.4 million carries a 10% spending increase but no increase to the tax levy. Voters rejected last year’s spending plan twice, forcing the district to operate under a contingency budget. The second vote in late July 2020 failed by 59 votes.
A 42% increase in state aid this year made it possible to prevent a tax increase, according to district officials.
The spending plan would restore cuts that were made to the district under this year’s contingency budget while enhancing academic, social and emotional support programs.
More details on Riverhead’s proposal can be found on the district website, riverhead.net.
Shoreham-Wading River has proposed an $80.6 million budget that represents a 4.57% spending increase over last year’s proposal.
It remains within the district’s tax cap limit and carries a 1% tax levy increase, bringing the total to $552,874.
Officials say the budget maintains current programs and staff while also funding critical technology and security upgrades, adding field trips, extracurricular clubs and athletic upgrades.
Voters will also be asked to vote on two additional propositions. Proposition No. 2 calls for spending $7.5 million in existing capital reserve funds on repairs districtwide, including roof repairs at Wading River School, Albert G. Prodell Middle School and the high school as well, districtwide HVAC repairs, a generator purchase and bathroom renovations at the middle school.
Proposition No. 3 asks voters to consider establishing a new capital reserve fund at no cost to taxpayers. The term of the reserve would be 10 years and would not exceed $7.5 million. Voter approval is needed to both establish and spend from the receive fund, which could be used to fund capital improvements to the district’s facilities.
More details can be found at swrschools.org.