05/19/18 6:00am
05/19/2018 6:00 AM

On Saturday night in Hampton Bays, as a cold rain fell on a large crowd of the broken-hearted, speaker after speaker told deeply personal stories about how the opioid epidemic that is sweeping America has changed their lives forever.

At a candlelight vigil sponsored by the Southampton Town Opioid Task Force, parents described phone calls informing them that a son or daughter had overdosed and died. Wives told of husbands dying, and grandparents spoke about attending funerals for their grandchildren.  READ

Featured Story
05/08/18 12:46pm
05/08/2018 12:46 PM

To the Editor:

Riverhead Central School District’s budget will be presented for approval next Tuesday to voters, who will also choose three candidates to represent the community on the Board of Education. We are fortunate in this community to have a number of candidates who are willing to take the time to run for such an important position and all should be commended for their desire to serve the public.  READ

Featured Story
04/30/18 9:38am
04/30/2018 9:38 AM

To the Editor:

After 50 years of being associated with education in Riverhead Town, I am breaking with the Riverhead Central Faculty Association’s endorsement for the Board of Education.

I am probably the only former member of the Riverhead Board of Education who can see our school district through four different lenses—a teacher for over thirty years, the teacher union president for five years, a community member for 50 years, and a BOE member for eight years, four as president.  I have been on the sending and receiving ends of criticism and kudos for work in each of those areas.  I am proud of the contributions I have made over the years to ensure fair and equitable education for all of the students in this school district.

As I am sure you are aware, I resigned from the BOE last year in protest of its lack of transparency and the lack of regard for New York State Education Law.  At the time I resigned, the President of the BOE, Susan Koukounas, made numerous decisions without input from fellow members.  Several of those decisions involved keeping a secret “personnel file” in the district office.  

Deals were cut behind closed doors. Her attitude was that the other six members, without being consulted, were there to rubber stamp her arrangements made directly with the superintendent.  Her response to my resignation was, “these allegations are untrue, and Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse is having difficulty not being the BOE President.”

I expressed my concerns regarding Ms. Koukounas’ leadership style to her and other members of the board in 2016, hoping for a change.  However, after two years of her presidency, if anything, the situation got worse.

I have expressed my concerns to the Riverhead Central Faculty Association, but am sorry to see that they are endorsing Ms. Koukounas for re-election.  The school district has a new superintendent and we need a new Board of Education — one that is honest with parents and taxpayers, not one that hides its decisions and disregards any concerns brought before it.

I am working with Elizabeth Silva, Amelia Lantz, and Ronald Fisher for election on May 15.  In all my years in education, I feel this is the most important decision we will make.

Ann Cotten-DeGrasse