Long Island School District Claims Downtown Development Will Lead To Overcrowded Schools

Feb 22, 2021

If downtown housing development in Riverhead continues, its school district said it will be unable to handle the new student influx it will cause.

The Riverhead Central School District Board of Education met on January 26, later stating that it had “unanimously adopted a resolution expressing its concern” over the costs of expanding existing district boundaries. Board President Laurie Downs said that while she believes every student deserves an education, developers and town officials need to “ensure that our schools are right-sized for the population.”

The board feels that the continued development is “unsustainable” and that no developmental change should be made to existing zones without “feasible solutions” to improve the educational cost and burden on the school district.

There are 5,411 students currently enrolled in the school district.

Speaking with Newsday, Riverhead Councilwoman Catherine Kent believes that additional state funding is needed to handle a growing student population, and that updating the town’s Master Plan would be “an excellent tool for us to address school crowding.”

Both the board and town officials hope to work together to find a solution. As interim Superintendent Christine Tona told the paper, “We look forward to a continued partnership with the Town of Riverhead on this vital issue.”