Smithtown school budgets pass, incumbents reelected

Smithtown school budgets pass, incumbents reelected

File photo by Rachel Shapiro

The Smithtown Central School District budget passed 4,236 to 2,406. The budget, at $280,642,272, constitutes a 4.8% increase from the current budget.  The tax levy has increased 2.83% from last year.

Two incumbents, board President Matthew Gribbin and John Savoretti, held on to their seats. Gribbin defeated his opponent Elena Guttieri, a middle school teacher, who ran on a ticket with Savoretti, 3,472 to 3,177.

“Thank you to the Smithtown community for the approval of next year’s budget,” Gribbin wrote on his campaign Facebook page. “I am honored to be elected to a third term on the Smithtown Board of Education.  It has been a privilege, and I am looking forward to serving our community for the next three years!!!”

Former trustee Charles Rollins, who was defeated by Savoretti in 2021, praised Gribbin in a comment responding to the post.

“A well-earned honor,” he wrote. “Your leadership and strength have served the students of Smithtown well! Your election is a message that the Smithtown voters have validated your efforts of the past 6 years!”

During the campaign, Gribbin, a physical education teacher, said he was proud of the accomplishments during his tenure as president, such as increased mental health support and partnerships with the Suffolk County Police Department and Town of Smithtown. Guttieri pushed to teach “traditional” literature and “patriotism” in schools.   

Savoretti, a realtor, defeated his opponent, Nicholas De Bello, a vice president of the AME Union, 3,343 to 3,323. De Bello had run on a ticket with Gribbin. Savoretti has pledged to continue to involve the community on the board and counted security as one of his chief accomplishments. De Bello had pushed for smaller class sizes during the debates.

Kevin Craine, a teacher, defeated Vladimir Pean, an information technology specialist, 3,361 to 3,282, for Jerry Martusciello’s seat. Martusciello did not seek reelection. Pean ran with Gribbin and De Bello, and Craine ran with Guttieri and Savoretti.

The Savoretti, Craine and Guttieri campaign also issued a social media statement, thanking the community for their support and involvement in the race.

“We knew it would not be easy,” the statement read. “Up against a well-organized machine, we relied on family and friends donating their time to spread the word. Although the race was long and our opposition stiff, we sent a message: parents’ and students’ rights will be respected, academic achievement will be prioritized, and accountability and transparency will be restored in Smithtown.”

Each trustee will serve a three-year term.

Kings Park Central School District

The majority of voters in the Kings Park Central School District approved the 2023‒24 budget of $104,039,636, a 1.76% increase over last year, with 829 voting yes and 336 no.

The tax levy will increase from last year’s $77,430,655 to $80,103,141, which is a $2,672,486 increase. This results in a 3.45% tax levy increase.

Incumbent Joe Bianco ran unopposed for school board and received 976 votes. In July he will begin his fourth term.

Commack Central School District

The Commack Central School District budget for 2023‒24 passed, 1,247 to 351. This year’s total budget is $222.110,181, up $7,464,854 from last year’s $214,645,327, which is a 3.48% increase.

The tax levy will increase from $149,681,444 last year to $152,660,104. This would be a rise of $2,978,660, resulting in a 1.99% tax levy increase.

Incumbents William Hender and Susan Hermer ran unopposed for their seats on the school board. Hender received 1,283 votes and Hermer 1,303.