Voters approve budgets in all North Fork districts; Mattituck turf field rejected

Newly elected Mattituck BOE members George Haase and Jennifer Anderson. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Voters in all five North Fork school districts overwhelmingly approved their 2019-20 budgets as voter turnout increased for the second straight year after historic low in 2017.

Residents in Mattituck soundly rejected a proposition to construct a turf field on the high school property. The proposition to spend $1.6 million from the Capital Reserve Fund failed by a wide margin with only 364 yes votes and 817 against. It was the only proposition voters rejected on the North Fork.

Mattituck voters approved a proposition to spend about $2 million from the Capital Reserve Fund on safety/security upgrades and air conditioning repairs in district buildings. That proposition passed 825-357.

The propositions provided a boost in voter turnout, which helped increase the overall number on the North Fork by 35 percent compared to last year. Voter turnout in Mattituck more than doubled from last year.

Two newcomers were elected to the Mattituck Board of Education. George Haase, 62, of Cutchogue received the most votes (712) of the three candidates and he was to be immediately sworn in to fill the vacated seat of incumbent Sarah Hassildine, who finished third. Ms. Hassildine had been appointed in September 2018 to fill a vacancy on the seven-member board.

Jennifer Anderson of Mattituck was elected to the board with 644 votes. She’ll be sworn in for the three-year term in July.

Mr. Haase, who ran unsuccessfully in 2016, and Ms. Anderson both said they weren’t surprised voters rejected the turf field.

“I knew that was a contentious issue,” Mr. Haase said. “Everyone spoke and got their opinion out there and the community decided they didn’t want to move forward in that direction.”

Ms. Anderson added: “We had a lot of voters come out today, which was great to see. And I want to thank everyone who voted for me and I’m looking forward to working with the board members and the staff and the community members.”

Mattituck Superintendent Jill Gierasch said during budget presentations at community forums, she heard from residents that they were in favor of the security and air conditioning proposition. 

“People felt very strongly about the safety and security of the students,” she said.

She said it was important to split the two projects into separate propositions to let the voters decide.

“I really felt comfortable with the way it was laid out,” she said.

Two newcomers were also elected to the Greenport Board of Education, although the race was not contested. Kimberly Moore Swann received 324 votes and Sandra Martocchia had 309.

“I’m excited to join the Greenport Board of Education and I’m excited for what the future holds,” Ms. Swann said. “We have a lot of work to do and we are committed to getting it done.”

Ms. Swann and Ms. Martocchia will replace Christina Volinski and Heather Wolf, both of whom did not seek re-election.

“I just want to see the school represent the community in the best way possible,” said Ms. Martocchia.

Voters approved the budget with 65% approval. 

“I’m always very grateful to the Greenport community,” Superintendent David Gamberg said. “Extremely grateful. It means a lot.”

The celebration won’t last too long in Greenport as the attention now shifts to June 26 when voters will decide in a special vote whether to approve a $23.8 million Capital Improvement Plan.

“We need to do a lot of work on this school, on the physical structure and that’s something that’s not going to happen overnight, even if the bond passes,” Ms. Martocchia said. “There are a lot of things we have to work on together to try to make Greenport the best school, not for the students, but for the community.”

In Southold, voters approved the budget with 75% approval and a proposition passed to approve the Southold Free Library budget. A new security guard was included in the overall budget.

Judi Fouchet, who has been on the board since 2004, was the only candidate up for election.

“Our goal is to be fiscally responsible and continue to be educationally sound in all the opportunities that we provide for students, for both the book-learning to the experiential learning, and all of the things that we’ve been doing here,” she said.

New Suffolk voters approved their budget by near unanimous vote. The final tally was 50-2.

Oysterponds also had no issues with 89% approval. A proposition to spend roughly $200,000 from the district’s General Fund to renovate two bathrooms was also approved. Miriam Foster, Thomas Stevenson and Dorothy-Dean Thomas were all elected to the school board.

Budget Breakdown:

GREENPORT

APPROVED

YES: 249

NO: 136

(65% approval)

$19,426,000 proposed budget with a tax levy increase of 2.85%

BOE Vote (Two seats)

  • Kimberly Moore Swann: 324
  • Sandra Martocchia: 309

Superintendent David Gamberg: “I’m always very grateful to the Greenport community. Extremely grateful. It means a lot.”


MATTITUCK

APPROVED

YES: 796

NO: 384

(67% approval)

$40,784,048 proposed budget with a tax levy increase of 1.9%

Proposition No. 2: Seeks authorization to spend about $2 million from the Capital Reserve Fund on safety/security upgrades and air conditioning repairs in district buildings.

APPROVED

YES: 825

NO: 357

Proposition No. 3: Seeks authorization to spend $1.6 million from the Capital Reserve Fund to construct a turf field on high school property, plus walkway, fence, bleacher pad and fenced-in dugout.

FAILED

YES: 364

NO: 817

School Board Candidates (Two seats): Sarah Hassildine (incumbent), Jennifer Anderson and George Haase.

  • Haase: 712 (Elected)
  • Anderson: 644 (Elected)
  • Hassildine: 627

SOUTHOLD

APPROVED

YES: 381

NO: 129

(75% approval)

$29,981,000 proposed budget with a tax levy increase of 2.97%

Proposition No. 2:

APPROVED

YES: 409

NO: 102

BOE VOTE (One seat)

  • Judi Fouchet: 433

Superintendent David Gamberg: “I am thrilled. I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities our students receive through the voter’s approval.”


NEW SUFFOLK

APPROVED

YES: 50

NO: 2

(96% approval)

$1,010,378 proposed budget with a tax levy increase of 3.8%

BOE VOTE (One seat)

  • Joe Polashock: 47

OYSTERPONDS

APPROVED

YES: 108

NO: 14

(89% approval)

$5,809,568 proposed budget with a tax levy increase of 0.98%

Proposition No. 2: Seeks authorization to spend roughly $200,000 from the district’s General Fund to renovate two bathrooms.

APPROVED

Yes: 112

No: 10

BOE VOTE (3 seats)

  • Miriam Foster: 101
  • Thomas Stevenson: 98
  • Dorothy-Dean Thomas: 97

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