The Riverhead Central School District will hold an in-person budget revote on its 2020-2021 spending plan on July 28, as per Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order issued July 3.
No changes have been made to the proposed $147,124,895 budget, which was put before voters on June 9. The budget remains within the New York State tax levy cap with a nominal tax levy increase of 2.21%.
“We are confident that the proposed budget is fiscally sound and prudently takes into consideration the burden on taxpayers,” said interim Superintendent Christine Tona.
The budget carries a year-over-year increase of 1.87%, which ensures that the district’s academic and extracurricular programs are maintained. It also supports technological growth for classroom innovation.
“The proposed budget supports the goals of the board of education and ensures Riverhead students receive a rich educational experience,” said Laurie Downs, board of education president.
The public will have an opportunity to comment on the budget during a public hearing on July 21 at 7 p.m. Details will be posted to the district’s website, www.riverhead,net.
The in-person vote will take place on July 28 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the district’s regular polling places. Residents can confirm their polling place by checking the district’s “Where Do I Vote” link under BOE – Budget and Election Voting Information at www.www.riverhead.net.
Taxpayers who prefer to cast an absentee ballot can request one from the district clerk’s office by calling 631-369-4724 or by filling out an application posted on the district’s website. Absentee ballots must be requested no later than July 21 if being mailed and must be returned no later than 5 p.m. on July 28. There is a drop box at the district office for those residents who prefer to hand deliver their documents.
The district is currently operating under a $144,831,131 contingency budget that represents a 0.27% budget-to-budget increase, which was guided by Education Law. It includes a freeze on equipment purchases and salary increases for individually contracted staff. Specifically, the athletics program ($963,978), clubs, musical performances ($186,006) and after-school buses ($317,947) have been eliminated. Other areas that have seen cuts include computer technology ($100,000), high school electives ($151,108), the science program ($135,122), the elementary literacy program ($148,459), and auto and building maintenance ($121,839).
For the average assessed home, the difference between the proposed budget and contingent budget is about $110 per year.
If the proposed budget fails on July 28, the district will continue to operate under the contingency budget with the reductions outlined above for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.