UPDATE, 9:50 p.m.:
Voters approved the $22.4 million East Quogue budget, 698-261. The spending plan garnered about 73 percent approval.
In total, 959 voters cast their ballots, over 100 more than the number of voters who turned out to the polls in May.
A round of applause erupted in the school’s cafetorium as District Clerk Lenore Rezza read the results.
“To get 73 percent on any vote is extraordinary, I just wish this was the kind of result that we got on the first budget,” Superintendent Les Black said. “But I’m certainly pleased that the community responded the way they did.”
Voters will head to the polls at the East Quogue Elementary School on Tuesday to cast their ballot on a $22.4 million budget that increases overall spending by about a quarter of a percent and does not exceed the tax cap.
In May, voters rejected a $23 million spending plan, which increased spending by about 2.9 percent and pierced the state-mandated 2-percent tax levy cap, by seven votes. The Board of Education trimmed closed to $600,000 from that plan by eliminating one full-time special education teacher, four teacher assistant positions, three teacher aides, one custodian, a part-time speech teacher, a part-time psychologist and reducing the hours of the district’s technology specialist.
The tentative spending plan requires 50 percent approval to pass. If voters reject it, the Board of Education will be required under state law to adopt a budget with a zero-percent tax levy increase, which would force massive cuts in educational programming and jobs.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the school gymnasium located off Central Avenue in East Quogue.