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Long IslandEducation

Riverhead

SCHOOL VOTERS GUIDE

BUDGET

SPENDING $144,430,212, a 2.88 percent increase from the current $140,380,950.

TAX LEVY 2.21 percent increase, from $102,280,638 to $104,541,394. This is equal to the district's 2.21 tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote is required for approval.

TEACHER PAY / PROGRAMS Includes a 1 percent contract increase and step increases ranging from 0.82 to 2.39 percent, depending on experience. One teaching position is being excessed because of a decrease in elementary enrollment. Because of an increase in enrollment at the high school, 4.5 teaching positions are being added — 1.0 full-time-equivalent in physical education and Spanish and four .6 FTE teaching positions in business, math, science and social studies.

PROPOSITIONS

Proposition 2 lets the district buy 44 new buses at a cost not to exceed $3,993,000 to replace buses in the fleet over the next five years. The district says the tax impact will be equal to the existing plan, which expires at the end of the year. Approval of the proposition will not affect the tax levy.

Proposition 3 lets the district spend up to $275,000 from the cafeteria capital reserve to convert the walk-in refrigerator to a walk-in freezer at the high school loading dock, replace doors and improve the loading dock; and at the middle school, to convert a closet to a walk in freezer and improve the kitchen entryway. No taxpayer dollars are used in this fund, which uses excess funds from the cafeteria program. Approval of the proposition will not affect the tax levy.

WHEN | WHERE

6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Riley Avenue, Phillips Avenue, Aquebogue and Roanoke Avenue elementary schools. www.riverhead.net

CANDIDATES

Jerome J. Bost, incumbents Laurie Downs and Elizabeth C. Silva, and Matthew Wallace are seeking two seats, elected at-large. Terms are three years.

Jerome J. Bost

BACKGROUND Bost, 35, is a Suffolk County legislative aide. He expects to receive his associate degree from Suffolk County Community College this month, and to study in the fall at Stony Brook University in a combined bachelor-master's degree program in political science. He served on SCCC’s board of trustees for the past two years, is a member of several honor societies and received a 2019 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence. He is running as a team with Matthew Wallace and has been endorsed by the Riverhead Faculty Association.

KEY ISSUE He will advocate on the state level for English Language Learner students and also seek more preventive care for students regarding mental health issues, Bost said. Other priorities include working on a career and readiness program that would involve local businesses and "I made a commitment while campaigning to create a working group of parents of children with special needs to make recommendations to the board."

Laurie A. Downs

BACKGROUND Downs, 63, is retired as a booking agent at an entertainment company. She graduated from Hauppauge High School and has two children who attended district schools. She served as secretary of the Riverhead Middle School PTO, vice president and president of the Riverhead High School PTSO, and president and event planner with the district’s PTO executive council. She videotaped meetings for 16 years for broadcast on the local access channel. Downs is on the health and safety and policy committees and is seeking her second term.

KEY ISSUE "I want to continue focusing on educating the whole child and work on increasing diversity in the district," Downs said, "and keep the focus on safety issues. I'm concerned about all students. I'm here for all the kids."

Elizabeth C. Silva

BACKGROUND Silva, 56, is a special-education teacher at Eastern Suffolk BOCES. She earned her bachelor's at Marywood University, her master's at Adelphi University in early childhood and special education and has taken School Building Leader courses at the College of St. Rose. She is a senior member of the Civil Air Patrol in Westhampton Beach and was a Girl Scout leader. One daughter is a Riverhead graduate and another attends the high school. She has served on the board for a year to fill a vacancy and is seeking her first full term.

KEY ISSUE "The success of all of our students, making sure they're getting a well-rounded education, and the safety of students and teachers are the most important topics to address. My main concern remains security for the students. When people come in the building and how they're checked in has improved in many ways — we need to continue on that and address all areas of safety. We want parents and students to feel safe."

Matthew Wallace

BACKGROUND Wallace, 48, is a licensed practical nurse in Riverhead at a family practice. His wife is a teacher for Eastern Suffolk BOCES. He attended Nassau Tech, where he studied nursing. He was a past fire commissioner in Wading River from 2004 to 2011 and a past fire captain in 2013 and 2017. Wallace has three children attending Riverhead schools and one child who graduated from Riverhead two years ago. He is running as a team with Jerome Bost.

KEY ISSUE "I am running in hopes to keep the program running, including sports and arts, also to ensure the staff, teachers, custodial, related service providers, etc., have equipment needed. I hope to be able to be a part of the discussions to ensure safety for students and staff."

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