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May 26, 2015 2:00 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Local Officials Discuss Complexities Of Regional High School

Tuckahoe Superintendent Chris Dyer at the meeting to discuss a potential regional high school. BY ERIN MCKINLEY
May 26, 2015 4:35 PM

Administrators from several East End school districts gathered in Tuckahoe last week to discuss a proposed regional or central high school serving smaller districts in both Southampton and East Hampton towns.

This is the second time since April that administrators have met to discuss the idea, which several school districts, including many that pay tuition to neighboring districts for students who go on to higher grades, see as a possible solution to projected budget woes in the wake of a state cap on tax levy increases.

There are few details available about how a regional or centralized high school would be organized—officials noted that any decision would have to be made locally after state legislation is approved to allow the creation of such a school. But administrators from several districts agree that it is something that should be pursued.

The meeting was attended by superintendents from Montauk, Tuckahoe, Hampton Bays, East Quogue and Bridgehampton, as well as representatives from the Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services, and local politicians.

“It is increasingly difficult for school districts to provide quality education and at the same time meet all of the mandates and financial requirements that are out there, whether they be the cap or the mandates from the Board of Regents,” State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said.

Nine of the South Fork’s 15 school districts pay tuition for their students to attend high school in larger districts, at rates largely determined by those receiving districts. Tuition contracts have traditionally allowed small districts to maintain their local identities while still providing their students with a high school education somewhere else. But rising costs, coupled with the state cap, are making some tuition deals increasingly less feasible.

The first hurdle, Mr. Thiele said, will be to get state legislation approved to allow for non-contiguous districts to forge an inter-municipal agreement that would be necessary for a regional school. The second hurdle would be for residents to agree to a regional high school model through local referendums before certain information—like a school’s location, focus and participating districts—would be finalized.

Montauk Superintendent Jack Perna said the regional high school option is tempting. “We are here not because of a lack of programs—we are here because of money. It is unsustainable,” he said. “We will all be on the financial risk list in the next few years.”

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Schools like Tuckahoe who have been fiscally irresponsible want a merger so they can have their taxes lowered. They want Southampton to take over the mess, and get their taxes lowered 60%. The best part is that they want business as usual in Tuckahoe, no real cuts, and no Southampton students to attend Tuckahoe. It's the biggest scam ever brought to taxpayers of Southampton.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on May 26, 15 4:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
. There should be centralized schools out here. Montauk, wainscott, amagansett, (all financially sound, and already low taxed areas) all pay tuition, and separate administration for their students all to end up in east hampton, bridgehampton and Pierson should combine, southampton and tuckahoe, hampton bays stays the same and then remsenberg, east quogue, quogue should all just be part of the westhampton district. It's silly to have so many schools paying tuition to send their kids to the high ...more
By Howyadoin' (2), East quogue on May 26, 15 4:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
It's not bound to happen when you have large disparities in property values, parents demanding direct access to school board members, administrators making $300K plus benefits, retired superintendents getting hired to lead one room schoolhouses so they can double dip after retirement, teachers losing positions protected by collective bargaining agreements, and transportation companies insisting that students walk a mile or so to the closest bus stop so they can manage traffic issues--and all of ...more
By Doug Penny (64), Hobe Sound, FL on May 26, 15 5:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Perhaps vouchers could be offered to families with children so that the $25,000 to $35,000 per student per year that is paid by local taxpayers to educate each child can be applied to whatever accredited private school the child can get into. I believe that this would create a great educational center on the East End as private companies vie for this money.

Too bad for school administrators and unionized school personnel in schools that do not give children a superior chance at an education. ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on May 26, 15 5:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
One must ask oneself why Chris Dyer is inviting the SH Press to take pictures of himself while running a spectacularly meaningless meeting 4 weeks before he departs for Iowa. There seems to be a disconnect between the stated purpose of this photo-op and the true reason for such an impotent coffee clutch.
By BillyWest (13), southampton on May 27, 15 3:43 PM
Tuchahoe will try anything to have someone else pay their bills. The only thing they haven't tried is cutting the waste and fat from thier budget.
By Rumrunner (6), Southampton on May 27, 15 8:44 PM
Chris Dyer is another narcissist who loves hearing himself talk, and seeing his picture in the paper.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on May 28, 15 9:51 PM