The elections in Riverhead Town will have an immediate impact on the Mattituck-Cutchogue school district.
Laura Jens-Smith, who was elected Riverhead Town Supervisor Tuesday, defeating eight-year incumbent Sean Walter, said afterward that she plans to step down from her seat on the Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education, of which she’s served since 2011 and is currently the board president.
“I am going to give it up,” Ms. Jens-Smith said of the school board seat. “I have to meet with [district officials] and figure out a transition, but I would say I will probably step down at the December meeting, just to give them time to decide what they have do.”
She said she was not sure if she was required to step down from the school board to fill the supervisor seat, but would do so even if it wasn’t required.
“It’s just too much,” she said. “There’s enough stuff to do in Riverhead to keep me busy, and the school board is a big-time commitment. I want to be able to dedicate everything to the job.”
As it turns out, the section of New York State’s laws pertaining to towns specifically “prohibits a town supervisor from serving simultaneously as a school board member.”
Ms. Jens-Smith lives in the Riverhead Town portion of Laurel, which also stretches into parts of Southold Town.
Residents in the Laurel school district voted to join the Mattituck-Cutchogue district in 1997.
During the campaign for supervisor, Mr. Walter run radio ads against her that implied at one point that she was on a school board strictly from Cutchogue and later calling it the “Cutchogue-Mattituck” school district.
Photo caption: Laura Jens-Smith on Election night in Riverhead. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)