Despite a storm that plowed through Long Island at the same time that many residents were to head out to vote May 15, Rocky Point residents passed the school districts $86,128,785 budget with 499 yes votes to 226 no.
“The most important thing for us was to put forward a budget that is fiscally responsible while we continually try to grow options for students at our schools,” Superintendent Michael Ring said.
The largest increases came from teacher benefits and new general education initiatives, like science, technology, engineering and math initiatives, new Advanced Placement courses and special education services.
Ring said he was disappointed with the voter turnout compared to last year, which saw 909 residents come out to vote. Ring partially blamed Tuesday’s storm that came around when the district usually sees most come out to vote.
“Most come out to vote after 5 p.m.,” Ring said. “Thankfully enough came out.”
Two trustee seats were opened on the board. Incumbent Ed Casswell was voted to his second term with 551 votes and newcomer Gregory Amendola was elected to the board with 571 votes. The race was uncontested, with current board Vice President Scott Reh stepping down.
“We have a great board of education — its going to be a loss that Reh is leaving, but Greg Amendola is going to be a great addition to the team,” said Casswell, a 26-year resident who was elected alongside Reh in 2015.
The vice president, who is Mount Sinai’s athletic director, said he felt it was time to step down after nine years on the board.
“I did it for three terms, but it was very time consuming,” Reh said. “I think the board’s doing a great job. I think I’m leaving it in very good hands. I was honored and privileged to serve on it. I wish everyone the best of luck.”
Casswell has been a member of the North Shore Little League for 10 years and is currently the principal of Center Moriches High School.
“I feel it is important to be an active member of a community,” he said. “High levels of altruism and service among citizens help create vibrant communities. This has always been my driving force and calling. I believe in these notions and love serving.”
Amendola, a 13-year resident who is looking to get the community more involved, echoed Casswell’s comments about losing Reh, but said he looks forward to being on the board.
“It’s an exciting time,” Amendola said. “I’m excited to be part of the team and make a difference. As of now I really just want to get in and get my feet wet and help any way I can.”
The board members will assume their trustee positions at the July organizational meeting. There the board will also elect a president and vice president for next year.