06/04/2014 10:00 AM
Mattituck senior Desirae Hubbard competes in the 200-meter dash at the Division Championships last month at Connetquot High School. A new track is scheduled to be installed at Mattituck. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Mattituck senior Desirae Hubbard competes in the 200-meter dash at the Division Championships last month at Connetquot High School. A new track is scheduled to be installed at Mattituck. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

Now that its school board has selected a contractor, the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District is gearing up to construct a new high school track.

The first round of bids were rejected in April because they were too high, said Michael Engelhardt, the district’s business administrator overseeing the project’s finances.

On Monday, he said Corazzini Asphalt and CAC Contracting of Cutchogue was awarded the contract May 15 after submitting the lowest bid.  (more…)

03/07/2014 10:00 AM
From right, Mattituck-Cutchogue School District Superintendent James McKenna, board president Jerry Diffley and vice president Charlie Anderson at Thursday night's budget workshop. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

From right, Mattituck-Cutchogue School District Superintendent James McKenna, board president Jerry Diffley and vice president Charlie Anderson at Thursday night’s budget workshop. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

Mattituck-Cutchogue School District Superintendent James McKenna says he’s confident additional state aid will be available in time to reduce a looming $110,500 budget gap projected for the 2014-15 school year by half.

(more…)

08/17/2013 8:00 AM
Former special education teacher Anthony Claudio in the 2009 Mattituck High School yearbook, his final school year with the district.

FILE PHOTO | Anthony Claudio in the 2009 Mattituck High School yearbook, the last school year he worked in the district. The school board appointed him Thursday as a probationary elementary school teacher.

The Mattituck-Cutchogue school board appointed Anthony Claudio as a probationary elementary teacher following an executive session Thursday night.

Superintendent James McKenna said Friday the school board voted 6-0 to approve the appointment, which goes into effect Sept. 1. School board member Sara Hassildine was absent from the vote.  (more…)

08/16/2013 2:30 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shannon Dwyer, a pentathlon veteran, working on her hurdling during Mattituck's practice on Monday.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Shannon Dwyer, a pentathlon veteran, working on her hurdling during Mattituck’s practice in March. There will be a special election in October for a track bond proposal.

The Mattituck-Cutchogue school board approved a resolution Thursday night setting a special election for a track bond proposal.

District residents will be asked on Oct. 29 to approve the proposed $925,000 capital improvement project for reconstructing the junior-senior high school’s aging cinder track, as well as purchasing portable bleachers, irrigation upgrades and asbestos remediation work inside the school.

Prior to the school board voting, the proposal had carried a $1 million price tag but was ultimately reduced after the board agreed to scale down a proposed 300-seat stationary bleacher and remove fencing work from the plan.

If the community approves the bond, school officials said the project will then go out to bid and the track work will take about two months to complete. The proposed 400-meter track will include six lanes and will require between $35,000 to $50,000 worth of maintenance work every 10 years, officials said.

School officials have said the outdated track has made it difficult to encourage other track teams to compete in Mattituck, and the school’s track teams participate primarily in away meets.

The community has debated on what to do with the track for several years and many school board members have said they believe it’s time to let the public weigh in on the proposal.

School board president Jerry Diffley said he believes holding a special election is the best way to deal with the track’s future.

“At this point, we’re just in the mindset that the public should decide it,” Mr. Diffley said during the meeting. “It’s the public’s money. It will be the public’s use not only here for the school and the athletic events that will take place with our students, but also to use as a community track that people can walk and run around.”

The school board voted 5-1 in favor of putting up the proposition. Sara Hassildine was absent from the meeting and Doug Cooper voted no.

“I still feel it’s the wrong time in this economy to pursue this,” he said after casting his vote.

Although Mr. Cooper voted against the special election, he voted in favor (along with his fellow board members) to designate election personnel and planning steps for an environmental study known as SEQRA.

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08/15/2013 4:00 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Mattituck High School track team members (from left) Anna Goerler, Tracy Grim and Caitlin Penny could only use their deteriorated home track for practice.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Mattituck-Cutchogue school board is expected to discuss a bond proposal tonight for reconstructing the school’s aging cinder track.

The Mattituck-Cutchogue school board is expected to vote on a resolution tonight setting a special election for a track bond proposal.

District residents will be asked on Oct. 29 to approve the proposed $1 million capital improvement project for reconstructing the junior-senior high school’s aging cinder track, according to tonight’s school board meeting agenda.

School officials have said the outdated track has made it difficult to encourage other track teams to compete in Mattituck, and the Mattituck track teams participate primarily in away meets.

The community has debated on what to do with the track for several years and many school board members have said they believe it’s time to let the public weigh in on the proposal.

Tonight’s regular school board meeting is at 7:30 p.m.

Scroll down to view the complete agenda and check back later for an update.

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Mattituck School Board Meeting Agenda, Aug. 15, 2013

FILE PHOTOS | Jeff Smith, left, and Terri Boyle Romanelli launched write-in campaigns for Tuesday's Mattituck-Cutchogue school board race. Mr. Smith won with 79 votes.

FILE PHOTOS | Jeff Smith, left, and Terri Boyle Romanelli launched write-in campaigns for Tuesday’s Mattituck-Cutchogue school board race. Mr. Smith won with 79 votes.

UPDATE: 2:38 P.M.

Mattituck-Cutchogue school officials released the full results of Tuesday’s write-in race for the remaining open seat on the district’s Board of Education just before noon Thursday.

As previously reported, former school board member Jeff Smith was the clear front-runner with 79 votes, which turns out to be more than double that of any other nominee.

Kelly Fogarty followed with 35 votes, and Anne Boucher with 29, according to the results released Thursday.

Terri Boyle Romanelli received 27 votes. After Tuesday’s election, Ms. Romanelli said she was concerned how her votes were counted, because she is known by several different names.

Only three other votes spelled or listed differently appeared likely for Ms. Romanelli. There were also other likely votes spelled or listed differently for other nominees.

A total of 233 votes were cast for 32 different names.

A full list of the results is below.

A district official said the school was not legally required to release the rest of the write-in results if the winner accepts the nomination.

The Suffolk Times submitted a Freedom of Information Law request with the district seeking the complete write-in results of the election shortly after noon Wednesday.

ORIGINAL STORY

More than 24 hours after polls closed in the write-in race for an open seat on the Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education, district officials have not yet released the results of the race.

So far they’ve said former school board member Jeff Smith was elected to the open seat with 79 write-in votes, but no other results have been disclosed.

The write-in race became necessary when board member Janique Nine opted to not seek re-election. Incumbent William Gatz was the only person on the ballot and was elected to the other open seat Tuesday night.

Although Terri Boyle Romanelli also launched a write-in campaign, a district official said Tuesday night the school isn’t legally required to release the rest of the write-in results if the winner accepts the nomination.

In an interview Wednesday, Ms. Romanelli said she respects Mr. Smith and she would have voted for him if he had been on the regular ballot.

“I am happy for him if he won, but I am very competitive,” she said. “I want to see what the votes really were.”

Ms. Romanelli said she’s questioning the write-in vote total because her maiden name is Boyle and she changed it about six months ago when she married husband Paul Romanelli. In addition, her children’s last names are Ackermann.

“I have so many names,” she said. “I am trying to get the results. Maybe Terry Ackerman got 40 and Terri Boyle got 50, and I actually won.”

Mr. McKenna said Wednesday that if voters wrote in different names to identify the same person the different names would be counted separately.

“The law says it has to be the same name,” he said. “We can’t assume it’s the same person. So if you use an initial rather than a name you can’t make an assumption. It has to be identical in order to count that vote.”

A New York State Department of Education spokesperson declined to comment on the Mattituck election Wednesday. Instead, she referred to a section of the School Law Handbook, a joint publication of the NYS School Boards Association and the NYS Bar Association.

“Write-in ballots with minor misspellings of a candidate’s name should be credited to that candidate in the absence of a showing that there is another district resident with the same or a similar name,” according to the section.

The Suffolk Times submitted a Freedom of Information Law request with the district seeking the complete write-in results of the election shortly after noon Wednesday. While the district acknowledged receipt of the request, the results have not yet been returned.

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05/23/13 7:59am

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Election officials count the write-in results Tuesday night.

Some things make us gently scratch our heads and other things make us want to claw straight through to our brains.

The Mattituck-Cutchogue School District’s decision not to release the results of a write-in election for a vacant Board of Education seat certainly falls into the latter category.

When a woman present Tuesday night as the district released the balloting results requested a tally of the write-in votes, school officials declined to disclose them, saying only that former board member Jeff Smith had won and accepted the post.

When a Suffolk Times reporter followed up with a district administrator, the answer given was that the district does not have to release the results as long as the winner accepts the position. She assured us that Mr. Smith had won by a wide margin.

Now, we’re not so naive as to believe that school districts are beacons of transparency, but we can’t comprehend why a district would believe it’s OK to withhold the results of any election.

When we followed up again Wednesday morning, Superintendent James McKenna said that to receive the vote totals, we’d have to fill out a Freedom of Information request — a step typically reserved for obtaining information school districts don’t want people who read newspapers to know about.

We don’t doubt Mr. Smith won the election, and we understand that the process of tallying write-in votes can be difficult, but the public has a right to know all the details.

So we ask the Mattituck district: Why on earth would you not want to reveal to taxpayers, who pay your salaries, the full results of an election?

05/20/2013 2:07 PM

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Jeff Smith confirmed this week that he’s running in Tuesday’s Mattituck school board election.

Suddenly the Mattituck school board election is no longer a sure thing.

Although only one name will appear on Tuesday’s ballot, two residents are waging last-minute write-in campaigns to transform what was to be an usual one candidate for two seats election into a 3 for 2 race.

The two board positions to be filled Tuesday are currently held by William Gatz, who is seeking reelection, and Janique Nine, who is not. Mr. Gatz was the only candidate who filed the required petitions to secure a spot on the ballot. But both former school board member  Jeff Smith and Our Lady of Mercy teacher Terri Boyle Romanelli, both of Cutchogue, are pursuing write-in campaigns.

Mr. Smith posted on his Facebook profile that he decided to run again after community members asked him to step back in. Mr. Smith did not seek reelection when his most recent school board term expired last year.

“Thank you for all your support in the past, and hopefully in the future,” Mr. Smith wrote.

Ms. Romanelli’s husband, Paul, created a Facebook page to promote his wife’s candidacy. She’s a Stanford University grad and has a masters degree in education and education administration, he said.

Elections for both school board positions and school budgets will be held all across New York State on Tuesday.

Check back tomorrow for full election coverage.

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