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Feb 1, 2013 1:45 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bridgehampton School Is Not Ruling Out Piercing 2-Percent Tax Levy Cap

Feb 6, 2013 8:58 AM

Members of the Bridgehampton School Board said on Wednesday night that while they plan on “whittling down” budget line items for 2013-14, they haven’t ruled out piercing the state-mandated 2-percent tax levy cap if it means being able to make what they say are mandatory repairs to the school building.

The board presented its 2013-14 school year “wish list” budget this week, a preliminary plan that would keep funding for all current programming and cover contractual increases and repairs to the building, with the intention of cutting out the fat in the next few weeks. The proposed budget currently is $11.6 million, which is an 8-percent increase, or $861,205, from this year’s adopted budget. To remain 
within the 2-percent tax levy cap, officials would need to cut $722,520 from its “wish list” budget.

Board member Douglas DeGroot said he is concerned about how much money the district pays to Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services, citing many line items, including an estimated $1,000 going toward BOCES purchasing services, $25,000 to occupational education, and $50,000 toward transportation.

“There’s gotta be a way to reduce these numbers,” he said. “I just don’t think it’s right. Not every school district joins the cooperative of BOCES.”

Board members said that while they are in contract with BOCES for a number of things, the budget advisory committee may look at ways to reduce costs.

Bridgehampton School Superintendent Dr. Lois Favre said that if one thing needs to be done in the 2013-14 school year, it’s adding a clerical position and a main office on the first floor of the building. Currently, the guidance office isn’t sufficient as a main office, she said. The proposed budget for guidance is approximately $127,553, which includes summer hours, and a new clerk/typist position.

Last year, the Bridgehampton Teachers Association and the Civil Service Employees Association, which includes custodians, administrators and guidance counselors, agreed to a salary freeze for the 2012-13 school year. Dr. Favre said negotiations about this year’s step increase and raises are still ongoing.

Dr. Favre also said $200,000 in repairs are needed, noting that the money would need to come out of the budget “if and only if the Capital Reserve Fund that is being brought to the public in March is voted down.” Some of the repairs will address safety issues, such as repairs to the fires escapes, and would be done over a five-year period.

School Board President Nicki Hemby said getting this work done is mandatory. “I want to whittle [the budget] down, I don’t want to waste taxpayers’ money, but we need to give our kids and teachers what they need,” she said. “These are things that we need done.”

Bridgehampton Joins Districts
In Discussing Grant

School officials also said they joined their counterparts at five other school districts—Tuckahoe, Southampton, Sag Harbor, Springs, and Hampton Bays—plus BOCES at a meeting to discuss reapplying for the state’s Local Government Efficiency Grant Program, which is meant to help local municipalities find ways to reduce costs and save taxpayer dollars through consolidation and reorganization.

According to Business Administrator Robert Hauser, the Southampton and Tuckahoe districts are backing out of the application since they have their own merger study under way. Mr. Hauser said now it is up to the rest of the districts to decide whether or not to go forward with an application for the grant to either simply explore shared services or to apply with the intention of a full consolidation study.

Parents Present Petition

A small group of parents whose students attend Bishop Mercy-McGann Diocsean High School in Riverhead again approached the School Board asking that it put up a proposition in this spring’s budget vote to extend the busing mileage radius from 15 miles to 25 miles so that students have a ride to and from the parochial school. Currently, the district is not required by state legislation to transport students to private and parochial schools outside a 15-mile radius of the district. Mercy-McGann, 21 miles away, is the closest parochial high school.

Bridgehampton resident Rachel Kelly presented a petition of 106 signatures at the beginning of the meeting of Bridgehampton taxpayers who support the move.

“As a School Board member, you are a representative for the entire community,” she said. “When making decisions, school boards incorporate their community’s view of what students should know and be able to do. Help our children get the Catholic education they deserve and have worked so hard for.”

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Salaries have to be cut. Step increases have to stop. Contracts with teachers will need to be renegotiated. I ask for all fellow residents to vote down any budget that pierces the cap. Once the School Board is empowered to go over 2%...they will always go over the 2%. Bridgehampton residents...set an example for the rest of the island. Enough with $100,000 teachers, social workers, guidance counselors, etc. The madness has to stop!! And stop now!!
By Franklin (2), bridgehampton on Feb 1, 13 2:47 PM
totally agree. as the parent of a child who briefly attended the high school,the school is a cesspool, run by a glad-handing ,back slapping idiot, and taught by incompetent overpaid teachers.
By wmdwjr (76), east hampton on Feb 1, 13 5:45 PM
Why should teachers not make 100k? Why is it madness. There are plenty of people making 100k who don't have near the education, nor the responsibility of teaching the future of our country. These teachers don't start at 100k, that's years of experience and continued education.
By bubby (236), southampton on Feb 1, 13 4:07 PM
Thank you, bubby, for inserting a bit of sanity into what has become a wingnut-dominated news blog.
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Feb 4, 13 1:28 PM
Plenty of people working 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., two months of per year, free education, step increases (raises) every year, and tenure (job for life). Get real bubby...say what you want but compare apples to apples. The future of our country is living in reality.
By Franklin (2), bridgehampton on Feb 1, 13 4:15 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bubby (236), southampton on Feb 1, 13 4:44 PM
I see we have a potential treacher responding. Please get real. The benefits and retirement are crazy. We as a community are unable to support it. How many times do I see retire teachers moving south where the cost of living is so much cheaper. That high cost of living up here is a result of taxes and the vast majority of my taxes go to the schools and the schools explaine it as teacher benefits. Pay my taxes and I'll agree with you.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Feb 1, 13 7:03 PM
You see retired everyone moving south where the cost of living is cheaper. Not a teacher, married to one. She doesn't clock in 8-2 and sit on her ass all summer either. She also paid to further educate herself to get more money. And she has worked 15 years with a masters + 30 and oh yeah, still not making 100k. Complain about the cops who make 100k after 3-4 years and kill it on overtime. And go out on disability and collect money for nothing.
By bubby (236), southampton on Feb 1, 13 8:26 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Feb 4, 13 1:28 PM
Yea - all of those papers grade themselves from 8-2, all of those lesson plans write themselves from 8-2, all of those parent-teacher conferences occur from 8-2 etc. etc. etc. Be real, give them a little credit. You may not agree that they deserve such a high salary - but don't act like they clock in at 8, sit around then clock out at 2. Come on.

What I want to know though, is why does the Bridgehampton School district repeatedly end up at the BOTTOM (or near) the list for english/math ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 1, 13 4:22 PM
Really Nature? How about you talk about Hampton Bays the district with one of the lowest percentages going to college in the state. How about the 32 year old 300k a year superintendent with very little administrative experience. Or the free spending school board that thinks it's important to spend millions on a new football field and pavillion. School is for learning not building college stadiums. Schools around the world outperform us and half of them educate in a hut. Its a joke.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 3, 13 1:15 PM
Never defended any of what you mention in your post. My point was simply that it's totally unfair to rail against teachers because of their contractually obligated pay and imply they work from 8-2 with summers off.

By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 3, 13 2:28 PM
"because of their contractually obligated pay"

I've seen that phrase repeatedly used by teacher's union proxies as if those golden compensation packages are an act of god.

They are the result of the union (and by extension, all its members), making wise investments in receptive politicians.

Campaign contributions in exchange for taxpayer money being funneled back to their members. It's that simple.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Feb 3, 13 9:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
Guess you've never voted for someone "guilty" of such an offense huh?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 3, 13 10:59 PM
Correct - But at 2pm on a summer day I see a lot of teachers at the beach. They want the high pay then work a full year and a full day without all the vacations. I'm tired of paying for someone else's wealth.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Feb 1, 13 7:06 PM
wmdwjr I am dure the BHSD is GLAD to be rid of you and your probably problamistic kid. stay in EH and suffer the consequences
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Feb 1, 13 7:24 PM
""""teachers the profession that creates all others."" author unknown. stop at McCoy fuel-he went there; stop at Dr White's office-she went there; stop at McCoy architects she went there; could go on but made my point.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Feb 1, 13 7:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
further why not a dress code??
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Feb 1, 13 7:33 PM
The schools on LI are operated for the benefit of the employees then the students, look at the timing of school funding, first the board approves "contractually obligated" salaries and benefits (70% of the budget is now spent) and then whats left over is spent on the children- it should be the other way around. Forget the teachers for the moment, why do we need 126 odd administrative staffs for each district? This costs over a hundred million dollars- Maryland and Virginia have count wide administration ...more
By bayarea (46), hampton bays on Feb 3, 13 9:08 PM
I wouldn't mind paying teachers what they are worth, if they were worth it. There is very little accountability for poor teachers. Do you know how hard it is to fire an underperforming teacher? Almost impossible. In my experience, the truly great teachers are in the minority. A lot of the problem starts with universities. Many universities offer education as a major because it is a cash cow and what they are turning out is substandard.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 4, 13 7:23 PM