By Phil Corso & Barbara Donlon
Residents gave a thumbs up to school budgets throughout Smithtown and its neighboring districts, including Commack, Hauppauge and Kings Park.
Smithtown’s $229.5 million budget passed, 2,582 to 762. School board President Christopher Alcure, who ran unopposed, was re-elected with 2,395 votes, while newcomer Jeremy Thode was elected with 2,144 votes.
The board largely assembled together in the district clerk’s office Tuesday night as the results came in before eventually filling the board room around 10 p.m. for the final reading of the numbers.
“I am very thankful that the budget passed, it clearly was a fiscally responsible budget that supports our school district and mission,” said Thode, who was not present when the board read the results aloud Tuesday night. “I am also humbled by the overwhelming personal support of the community in my election. I would like to thank everyone for their belief in me and look forward to helping all the students and families in Smithtown.”
MaryRose Rafferty lost her bid, garnering 862 votes, but said she looked forward to working with the board on the other side of the microphone nevertheless.
“I’m not going away, I will still be the voice of the people for the people,” she said.
A second proposition on the Smithtown ballot, related to capital reserves, passed 2,507 to 715.
Community members passed Commack’s $185.1 million budget 1,927 to 575.
In Hauppauge, voters passed the district’s proposed $105.4 million budget, 1,458 to 442. Michael Buscarino and Stacey Weisberg were elected to the board with 1,098 and 1,122 votes, respectively. Candidate Susan Hodosky fell short, with 984.
Kings Park voters came out to support the district’s $84.7 million budget as well on Tuesday.
The community voted in favor of the budget 2,065 to 577. There was also voting on two propositions, regarding bus purchases and a capital project to replace the high school roof. Both passed, 1,998 to 542 and 2,087 to 455, respectively.
Voters ousted Vice President Charlie Leo (1,108 votes) and voted in incumbent Diane Nally (1,821) and newcomer Kevin Johnston (1,886) for the two open seats on the district’s board of education.
“The community spoke and I am fine with that,” Leo said.
The district’s budget included a 2 percent tax levy increase while keeping its current curriculum, extra curricular activities and adding a wish list of items that included an additional social worker, new musical instruments and class size reductions.
“It was uncomfortable at best because of my long association with Charlie Leo and Diane Nally but it was the right time to run for a seat on the Kings Park Board of Education,” Johnston said. “My goals are to provide the best education for students at Kings Park while being financially responsible to the taxpayers.”