Compared to Election Day in November, the May version for school district budget votes and board of education candidates in the Port Jefferson area was seriously lacking in drama.
Board of education races came to a close in the Port Jefferson and Comsewogue school districts May 16 with little suspense, as two candidates ran for two open seats in each district. Both districts’ budgets were also passed, with 82 percent of Port Jeff voters and 79 percent in Comsewogue giving their stamp of approval to the 2017-18 spending plans.
A second proposition on the ballot in Port Jeff was also overwhelmingly passed by the community, allowing the district to release $456,000 from a capital reserve fund to be used on renovations and infrastructure-related improvement projects.
“On behalf of the Port Jefferson board of education, administration, students and staff, I extend my appreciation to the Port Jefferson community for their continued support of our district,” Superintendent Paul Casciano said in an emailed statement. “Through the approval of our school budget, our district will continue to offer our students a high quality educational program. Additionally, the support of Proposition 2 allows the district to replace portions of the high school and middle school roof, continuing our investment in district facilities.”
Port Jeff’s 2017-18 budget will be nearly $43 million, a roughly 3.5 percent increase over last year. Almost $36 million of revenue will come from property taxes. The budget was passed with 338 “yes” to 74 “no” votes.
Adam DeWitt will begin his third term on the Port Jeff board of education after receiving 357 votes. He and newcomer Dave Keegan, with 356 votes, each ran unopposed for two seats.
“I am very grateful to the Port Jefferson community for giving me the opportunity to join the Board of Education,” Keegan said in an email. “I am excited to begin my tenure and to contribute to helping keep the Port Jefferson School District among the best public school systems in the country.”
DeWitt said in a phone interview he was thrilled with the support the community showed for the upcoming year’s spending plan.
“I couldn’t be prouder to continue to serve on the board for another three years,” he added.
Voters in Comsewogue passed the district’s approximately $90 million budget by a 789 to 208 margin. The district’s tax levy will be 2.8 percent higher than for the current year.
“I’m very, very thankful to our wonderful community for its overwhelming support of our budget,” Superintendent Joe Rella said in a phone interview.
Ali Gordon, who ran unopposed, will begin her third term on Comsewogue’s board of education beginning in July after receiving 882 votes. Board vice president James Sanchez will also be granted another term, as 846 community members checked off his name.
“There are great things happening in our schools every day, and I’m proud to be part of a team that prioritizes innovation and creativity in education,” Gordon said in an email. She called it an honor to be able to serve the community for a third term.
Sanchez expressed a similar sentiment.
“As an incumbent I am honored to be given the opportunity in serving a third term, allowing me to be the voice and advocate for the Comsewogue families and students,” he said in an email. “I’d like to give a heartfelt thanks for entrusting me as your representative on the board.”