Residents gave a resounding vote of confidence to the Shelter Island School District’s $11.3 million budget Tuesday, approving it with a vote of 345 in favor to 176 opposed. The proposition that would have increased mileage for off-Island students to attend Our Lady of the Hamptons School lost with 367 voting against the change and 156 voting in favor.
Veteran Board of Education member Alfred Brigham Sr. lost his bid for another term to newcomer Tracy McCarthy. Ms. McCarthy was the top vote-getter.
She was supported by 403 voters while Mr. Brigham pulled in 258. Linda Eklund and Elizabeth Melichar were both re-elected. Ms. Melichar received 371 votes and Ms. Eklund, 310.
While the mileage increase was minor for the busing proposition — from 15 miles to 16.5 — the cost of an extra bus and ferry transportation would have run the district almost $69,000 because Our Lady of the Hamptons didn’t coordinate schedules with those of Ross and Hayground schools to which the district already buses students.
Years ago, the district paid for a bus to Stella Maris, but with that school closed, Our Lady of the Hamptons is the nearest parochial school to Shelter Island.
“I’m happy that the budget passed and I thank Al for his years of service, Board of Education President Thomas Graffagnino said. “We welcome Tracy.”
“I’m super excited,” Ms. McCarthy said about her win. “I’m looking forward to working with everyone.”
Mr. Brigham, who has served for six years said he would try again. He is a secondary school teacher in Hampton Bays and well versed on educational issues, but his responsibilities on the job and at home kept him from attending as many meetings as others board members.
“I’m pleased that we achieved our mission,” Ms. Melichar said about the budget vote. She said she was also happy to be re-elected to continue to work with her colleagues.
Ms. Eklund declared herself pleased to be re-elected and said she thinks Ms. McCarthy will be “a wonderful asset” to the board.