Voters Get Another Say on Riverhead School District Budget

The Riverhead School District will float the same $147 million budget that voters rejected last month on July 28. Independent/Taylor K. Vecsey

Voters will get another say on the Riverhead School District’s $147 million budget, as the district faces layouts and curriculum reductions.

No changes have been made since the budget was rejected during June’s mail-in vote. The in-person revote will take place on July 28, in accordance with an executive order Governor Andrew Cuomo issued on July 3.

The budget is 1.87 percent higher than last school year’s budget. If approved, the budget will mean a tax levy increase of 2.21 percent, which is within the New York State tax levy cap.

“We are confident that the proposed budget is fiscally sound and prudently takes into consideration the burden on taxpayers,” said Christine Tona, who is serving as the interim superintendent. Dr. Aurelia Henriquez resigned late last month.

The district is currently operating under a $144.8 million contingency budget, a 0.27 percent budget-to-budget increase. Nearly $964,000 was slashed from athletics, $318,000 from clubs and music performances and $186,000 from after-school buses, among other cuts.

If the budget is voted down again, the district will be forced to continue under the contingency budget for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.

According to the district, for the average assessed home, the difference between the proposed budget and contingent budget is about $110 per year.

A public hearing will be held on July 21 at 7 p.m. Details on how the public can be heard during the meeting will be posted to the district’s website,

In a mail-in vote June 9 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, voters said no to the budget, with 2,847 casting ballots in favor, and 3,173 coming out against it.

The revote will take place on July 28, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., at the district’s regular polling places. Polling places can be found by checking the district’s “Where Do I Vote” link under BOE – Budget and Election Voting Information on the district website.

Absentee ballots can still be requested by calling the district clerk’s office at 631-369-4724 or by filling out an application posted on the district’s website. Absentees must be requested no later than July 21 if being mailed and must be returned no later than 5 p.m. on July 28. A drop box is located at the district office for hand-delivery of the ballots.

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