Though board incumbent members Linda Goldsmith and Krista de Kerillis won their bids for re-election Tuesday night after polls closed,
The proposed $5,353,894 budget for 2012-13, which is $272,750 less than the 2011-2012 budget that stood at $5,626,644, failed by a vote of 192 yes, 253 no. The proposed tax levy increase of 2.5 percent falls right in between the tax levy increases of Southold and Mattituck-Cutchogue’s proposed budgets — and those districts passed by wide margins even with spending increases.
To de Kerillis, the failure to pass what seemed like a reasonable budget is the result of an ongoing distrust the Orient community feels toward their board of education.
“It just goes to show you that the community does not trust this board,” she said. “They’re not happy with what goes on with this board.”
The seven-member Oysterpond School Board has long been a unit rife with interpersonal conflict. In September of 2010, at the district’s lengthy and heated monthly meetings. Conflicts over former Superintendent also played center stage at board meetings in late 2010 / early 2011.
New Superintendent Joan Frisicano, who took over for Rachlin last year, said that she believed that many voters probably thought that the issue of whether or not Oysterponds should allow parents the option of sending their kids to for secondary schooling would be on the ballot. But she said that the much-contested issue will not be back on the table until the summer.
“Many people did not vote for this budget — they were voting on choice,” she said.
De Kerillis said she is more than happy with Frisicano and new principal, Francoise Wittenburg, who was also hired last year, but that board members need to work on rebuilding trust between themselves and the community.
“We obviously don’t have the community behind us and we need them to be,” she said.
Longtime board member Linda Goldsmith said she still felt confident in the budget the board has approved and did not feel that a contingency budget would have to be adopted.
“This is a very good budget and there will be no need for contingency and we will not lose any teaching positions,” she said.
The Oysterponds Board of Education will meet on May 22 at 7 p.m. at the school to discuss budget options moving forward into 2012-13.