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Five Other Budgets Also Pass

Thu, 05/23/2024 - 11:12
The Wainscott School in June 2023
Christine Sampson

In South Fork districts not attempting to override the state-imposed tax-levy cap, there was good news on Tuesday. Voters in Montauk, Sag Harbor, Wainscott, Sagaponack, and Bridgehampton overwhelmingly supported their respective budgets.

Voters in the Montauk School District approved the $24.21 million spending plan, with 91 percent of the 188 people who cast ballots green-lighting a budget that calls for a one-year tax credit due to a prior year’s accidental overcollection of tax money.

“This is a testament to the commitment of our faculty, staff, and board of education to the children and community of Montauk,” Josh Odom, the district’s superintendent and principal, wrote in an email. “The passing of this budget represents the culmination of the district’s diligence in solving issues that will benefit both the taxpayers of Montauk and the school community.”

Sarah Greenberg Roberts won a seat on the Montauk School Board in an uncontested race.

The Bridgehampton School District’s $22.55 million budget plan passed with a final count of 98 to 21, or 82-percent voter approval. The budget is tax-cap-compliant, so its 3.34-percent tax levy increase needed only a simple majority to pass.

In the contested school board race, which featured two full three-year terms and one partial term, the winners were Jo Ann Comfort with 98 votes, Angela Chmielewski with 74, and Nicole DeCastri-Zabala with 65. Ms. DeCastri-Zabala and Merritt Thomas, who received 63 votes, were running for the first time. Ms. Comfort was seeking her third term on the board and Ms. Chmielewski was seeking her second.

“We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Bridgehampton School community for your unwavering support of the budget and your vote of confidence in prioritizing the education and well-being of your children,” Mary Kelly, the superintendent, wrote in an email. “As we close another successful school year and celebrate the remarkable accomplishments and achievements of our students, we eagerly anticipate the exciting new opportunities that the 2024-25 school year will bring for our students and families.”

It was a fairly smooth-sailing budget cycle in the Sag Harbor School District, where voters easily passed the $50.23 million budget. The final count was 452 to 116, for an approval rate of just under 80 percent.

Two ballot propositions also passed. A measure allowing the district to spend $508,252 from a reserve account on four new buses received 470 votes in support and 101 votes against. The district also sought permission to spend $2.4 million from a capital reserve account to complete districtwide air-conditioning, heating, and ventilation upgrades, which received 501 votes in favor and 67 votes against. Ryan Winter and Jordana Sobey were both re-elected to three-year terms, with 498 votes and 485 votes respectively.

Sagaponack voters approved the district’s $2.04 million spending. During the single hour that polls were open Tuesday night, 18 voters cast “yes” votes and none said “no.”

Brian Villante, a previous board member who sought to return to the board, was elected to a new term in an uncontested race, receiving 18 votes.

This time last year, voters in Wainscott rejected a school budget that called for an almost doubling of the tax levy to account for unexpected expenses that put the district into a deficit. School officials said the budget has since stabilized, and voters responded on Tuesday by approving the $4.8 million proposal for next year 108 to 35.

Kelly Anderson, an incumbent board member seeking another term, was re-elected with 124 votes.


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