The Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education decided at Thursday’s meeting to remain a six-person board until the May budget vote.
The usually seven-person board decreased following the resignation of its president, Laura Jens-Smith, last month. Ms. Jens-Smith began a new role as Supervisor of Riverhead Town on Jan. 1. She is the first female to hold the position.
Keeping the seat vacant until the next election was one of three options the board faced, the other two being holding a special election to fill Ms. Jens-Smith’s remaining term, or appointing someone to fill the vacancy until the upcoming May election.
“I think we have some other things to work on that take precedence and need attention,” board member Barbara Wheaton said. “And, we’ve done it before. This isn’t the first time. I think we’re a functioning board so we can keep it like this.”
Her other board members agreed.
Board member Brian Mealy said he talked to multiple people on other boards and they all said that as long as the board was functional it wasn’t necessary to fill the vacancy immediately.
The board urged people in the community who are interested in filling the position come spring to come to board meetings and reach out to members to learn more about the role.
The board came to a unanimous decision to keep the board as is. A formal vote was not needed.
Additionally, the board selected a new vice president in MaryLynn Hoeg. She was elected to the board in 2016 following a race for three seats between seven people.
Ms. Hoeg was chosen for the position following former vice president Charles Anderson assuming the vacant president role after Ms. Jens-Smith’s resignation last month.
The board also voted unanimously to approve superintendent Anne Smith’s retirement.
Dr. Smith read a letter to the board, announcing her intention to leave in July — a year prior to the end of her contract — and thanked the board, staff and community for their support.
Dr. Smith outlined her goals for the remainder of the year, which include continuing to strengthen the expertise within the administration, looking into establishing a capital reserve, and improving the districts phone system, giving the district one system throughout the district instead of a different provider in each building. She asked the board to always get involved with many aspects of the community and to continue to work towards focusing on students’ mental health.
Upon completion of her talk she received a standing ovation from the board and community members in attendance.
“Coming to this district was the best decision of my career, and I’ve made some pretty good decisions,” she said. “Raising my family among so many of you here has been a joy, and Ron and I are truly grateful for your commitment to our district, our families and our community.”