Home Schools Greenport Union Free School District North Fork budgets all pass by wide margin; lower turnout than usual

North Fork budgets all pass by wide margin; lower turnout than usual

The results are in, and after the votes were tallied, all North Fork school districts passed by a landslide, although districts reported lower than usual turnout.

Greenport Union Free School District

Greenport’s proposed 2015-2016 budget of $16.9 million, with a tax levy of 2.52 percent, passed by a wide margin. According to the unofficial tally, 213 voted “yes,” and 36 voted “no.”

Incumbent Board of Education member Babette Cornine, BOE vice president, received 213 votes, and Daniel Creedon, president, received 202; both ran unopposed.

2015_0519_Vote2“I’m absolutely delighted with the strong sowing of support from the community,” Greenport School Superintendent David Gamberg said, adding that in his first year serving in the post, he found the community to be supportive and hoped the district would “continue to have such a strong endorsement.”

Cornine said she was “very happy” to win, but even more thrilled that the budget passed by such a wide margin. “It’s about the kids,” she said.

Creedon agreed, adding that he was happy with the win.

BOE member Kirsten Droskoski said she wishes a greater number had turned out to vote; she brought her son to vote for the first time.

District clerk Jessie Kemp said the turnout was a bit lower than last year.

The proposed Greenport Union Free School District’s 2015-2016 budget of $16.9 million has a tax levy of 2.52 percent that does not exceed the cap, the district says.

According to Gamberg, “It is under the allowable levy cap. It is a formula that varies considerably from district to district. For example, in Westhampton Beach it’s 3.6 percent, 2.57 percent in Copiague, and 3.51 percent in Bridgehampton, all under the cap. The idea of 2 percent is only part of the formula; it’s the allowable levy growth factor. There are allowable exemptions, particularly capital expenses, that can drive the percentage up but still be under the allowable limit.”

In addition, the “proposed budget continues to provide a comprehensive Pre-K program, a secondary summer school program, which has the potential to yield revenue, and features shared administrative costs with Southold that will save Greenport taxpayers over $160,000.

According to budget information distributed by the district, “Our shared service model is cost effective and helps us maintain quality educational programs while increasing student opportunities..” Currently, Greenport and Southold share a technology director, a director of facilities, and the superintendent.

Southold Union Free School District

In Southold, the budget passed 462 to 131. The Southold Free Library vote passed with a vote of 470 “yes”, and 117 “no” votes.

2015_0519_Vote3BOE member John Crean received 465 votes; Board of Education president Paulette Ofrias received 468.

“Again, I’m very pleased and appreciative of the support shown by the community,” Gamberg said. “It’s an indication that the district is putting forth a responsible budget.” Both taxpayers and families with children see good programs.” Down the line, Gamberg worries about the sustainability of such low numbers, but said he hopes shared services will continue to see savings.

Crean said while he was happy the budget passed, he’d like to see more interest from the public in running for the board of education and said in the future he hoped to see more candidates vying for seats.

Ofrias said she was “grateful” to the public for supporting students.

The proposed Southold 2015/16 school budget totals $29,148,995.

The tax levy increase of 1.66 percent is at the tax levy cap as calculated by using the state’s formula, which includes allowable exclusions. The average tax levy increase has been less than 2.17 percent over the past six years, the BOE said. The budget maintains current programs and student opportunities. According to the BOE, shared administrative positions have saved over $170,000, but still allows the district to meet the criteria for the tax rebate efficiency plan.

Mattituck-Cutchogue Union Free School District

The budget passed 445 to 219, with incumbent board member Douglas Cooper receiving 487, incumbent Laura Jens-Smith receiving 446, and newcomer Barbara Wheaton, 524.

“The Board of Education and the district welcomes Barbara Wheaton to the team. We have several goals and projects related to programs, environmental science, new AP courses and technology planning ahead of us. A positive vote on the budget allows us to move forward with some exciting work with our faculty, staff and students,” said Mattituck-Cutchogue Superintendent Dr. Anne Smith.

The proposed 2015-2016 budget for Mattituck-Cutchogue is $40,284,062.

The appropriation increases spending by $159,176 or .4 percent, and represents an estimated tax rate increase of 1.68 percent.

The proposed tax levy for the Mattituck-Cutchogue UFSD is 1.73 percent.

The average taxpayer will see an increase of $63 to $79 in school taxes for the 2015-16 school year.

New Suffolk School District
The New Suffolk budget passed 56 to 6. Board of Eduction candidate Jason Cooper received 59 votes. New Suffolk has proposed a budget for 2015-2016 of $1.099 million, with a 1.8 percent tax levy increase.

During the budget process, the small district voted to abolish the position of tenured teacher Martha Kennelly, a move some felt could lead to costly litigation. Kennelly’s current salary is $115,000, after 21 years spent in education with elementary, art, district administrator and special ed certifications.

Oysterponds Union Free School District

The budget passed 132 to 47.

A vote for a window replacement project received 139 “yes” votes and 39 “no”.

Board of Education candidate Philip Mastrangelo received 156 votes, Linda Goldsmith received 133, and Krista de Kerillis received 118. Two full term seats are available, as well as a one year, 42 day term that was vacated; the two top vote getters will receive full-term seats and the third will fill the vacancy.

The proposed 2015-2016 Oysterponds budget of $5.6 million reflects a tax levy increase of 1.62 percent.