Despite facing a 4.49 percent tax increase, residents supported the Sachem Central School District budget, approving the 2011-12 spending plan by a vote of 4,960-3,034.
In addition to giving a nod to the school budget for the coming school year, Sachem residents also reelected incumbent Christine Lampitelli and newcomer Dorothy Roberts to three-year terms on the board of education. Teri Ahearn ran unopposed for the seat left open by Jim LaCarrubba and Mike Isernia ran unopposed for the seat he occupies, originally held by David Egloff, for another one-year term.
Sachem's total budget for the 2011-12 school year will be $287.8 million, up from $282 million last year. There will be an estimated school tax levy of $151 million. Among the proposed cuts are for half of the co-curricular activities at the secondary level, half of middle school sports teams, modifications to the G.A.T.E program and the elimination of an attendance aide position.
Lampitelli beat Dan Smith, 3,101-2,734, while Roberts beat incumbent Mike Licata, 3,514-2,414. A total of 8.772 people voted, up from last year's 8,601. Voters who accepted the budget outweighed those who voted no at all 12 Sachem elementary schools.
School district officials gathered at Nokomis Elementary School in Holbrook and looked relieved with the budget passage Tuesday.
"Even during these very difficult times I think we have a great community," said Sachem Superintendent James Nolan, "and even though things are tough for people at home, they demonstrated how important our school system is. They continue to put their children as the highest priority."
Lampitelli expressed remorse for Licata's loss more then happiness for her own victory.
"I’m sad we’re losing Mike Licata," she said. "He was an asset to this board. It’s very sad, but I do want to thank the people who supported me."
Roberts, who beat Licata in voting at all 12 elementary schools and came to Nokomis after she learned of her victory, is ready to get work.
"I’m looking forward to being on the board," she said, "and taking my experience, bringing it to the board and making informed decisions. I think it’s a good thing the budget passed, but there is a lot of work to do."
Prior to the budget vote many board of education trustees expressed uncertainty about how the community felt as a whole.
"There were some concerns out in the community," said Board President Rob Scavo. "The silence was deafening. We’re very pleased to pass the budget by more then 1,900 votes. It shows how strong the community really is and how much they care about their children and schools. Now it’s back to business to plan for the future."
Facts & Figures
- Tamarac again had the highest voter turnout with 1,051
- Tecumseh had the lowest voter turnout with 551
- More people voted for the budget at Tamarac (712) than any other school
- More people voted against the budget at Tamarac (339) also
- Tecumseh had the least amount of people in support of the budget (333)
- Dorothy Roberts received the most votes from any single school (503) and the most votes overall (3,514)
- Other high totals: Isernia (459 Tamarac), Ahearn (456 Tamarac), Smith (405 Tamarac), Lampitelli (394 Tamarac), Licata (301 Tamarac)
- Lampitelli beat Smith at 10 of the 12 elementary schools in voting
- Vote totals: Roberts (3,514), Ahearn (3,373), Isernia (3,363), Lampitelli (3,101), Smith (2,734) and Licata (2,414)
Unofficial Results By SchoolSchool Yes No Total 464 320 784 582 303 885 355 259 614 448 279 727 417 306 723 415 305 720 433 250 683 354 222 576 333 218 551 712 339 1,051 482 269 751 428 280 708 Total 4,960 3,034 7,994