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Story - Education

Mar 10, 2010 12:21 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sag Harbor looking to trim 10-percent budget hike

Mar 10, 2010 12:21 PM

The Sag Harbor School District’s latest draft budget predicts a nearly 10-percent increase in the general fund for the 2010-11 school year.

As of Monday night, the district’s preliminary budget for next year stood at $32.6 million, according to Janet Verneuille, director of business operations. The budget adopted last spring for the current school year totaled $29.6 million. The approximate projected increase in the tax levy is nearly 17 percent, district officials said.

Salaries and benefits are among the largest line item increases and administrators attributed the proposed spending hike to underbudgeting in recent years.

The figures also reflect a decrease in anticipated revenue—by approximately $1.8 million, or 3.8 percent. The district is expecting to get no federal aid, whereas last year it received $529,037.

The district has until March 22 to finalize its figures.

Sag Harbor administrators have composed a list of 65 cost savings ideas, ranked in order of their effect on the student body, from adjusting school start times in order to save money by utilizing fewer buses to eliminating extracurricular clubs that have not met recently. If all 65 items are cut from the budget, the percent increase would drop from 9.96 percent to 6.81 percent.

“I don’t think anyone will care if we don’t have the newest vacuum cleaners,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Gratto said about wanting to save in areas that will affect students the least.

The School Board called a special meeting for Monday, March 15, to further discuss the budget.

Also, last Monday, the district decided to postpone for further review a bond proposal based on suggestions from the Long-Range Planning Committee that would have reconfigured the parking spaces around the school. The district noted that voters had previously been against the bond because they thought of it as a parking proposal. The district wants to package it more as a “health and safety” proposal.

Colleen Reynolds

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Maybe the teachers need to come off their salary demands a little seeing that the numbers they are asking for and the numbers the Board of Education have almost been forced to put on the table have contributed to the underbudgeting over the last several years. Check out the artice cited below:

Sag Harbor teachers declare impasse in contract negotiations
By Oliver Peterson
Jun 24, 08 4:40 PM

In the article district administration is quoted as saying they have "tried ...more
By happynow (19), east hampton on Mar 10, 10 6:25 PM
Cut the fat now.17% will never pass. Maybe the district could save heating $$$ if they didn't allow the doors to the Pierson gym to be held open by students late in the afternoon when it is 20 degrees outside. Just a thought.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Mar 10, 10 10:19 PM
It's time to trim the fat!!! Get rid of some of the usless teachers who do not know how to teach. I have several kids in the district, and if you ask me there
is only a handful left of teachers who actually do their job, I even asked one of my child's teachers about the contract and they did not even know how to answer my questions. Pretty sad. Some don't even grade their own work they have the students do it for them. What the teachers do not realize most parents are tired of the teachers ...more
By J. Totta (106), Sag Harbor on Mar 11, 10 10:25 AM
1 member liked this comment
Who was your English teacher in high school. It seems as if you need to polish up your knowledge of English grammar.
By hamptonite (26), hamptons on Mar 11, 10 8:36 PM
BTW- there should have been a ? after the first comment. At least I caught the error after the fact.
By hamptonite (26), hamptons on Mar 11, 10 8:39 PM
I agree that a 17% hike is horrible, but once again we always see people blaming the teachers. If you think they have it so good, become one. It takes a lot of money and leg work to become a teacher. You need a college degree, masters, and must take multiple exams. The requirements to become a teacher are much greater than most jobs.
By reality 101 (137), East Hampton on Mar 11, 10 6:51 PM
The Board of Education has totally screwed up the teacher contract, they have no idea what they will end up paying the teachers so how can you budget properly, they give the super a $25,000 increase not in the budget, added more salary diuring the year not budgeted for, demanded the principals keep spending to a minimum over the last several years thus pressuring them to underbudget, and on , and on , and on. How more badly could the Board of Ed have fouled things up? Time for changes on the Board.
By hohum123 (91), springs on Mar 11, 10 8:41 PM
One other thing Sag Harbor. If you want my kid to go to your school, you better get this situation settled with the teachers who are the reason I would send my child there. I really don't care who is on the Board as long as they support education and don't try to cheapen the product. From what I have read the Board is cheapening the product with unrealistic budget demands and disrepect for the professional staff. Don't become East Hampton. I'm willing to pay the same tax dollars for a better ...more
By hohum123 (91), springs on Mar 11, 10 8:50 PM
Hey Pressguy..Bernard is helping to clean up the East Hampton mess and Wilkinson and the board on a bi-partisan basis seem to appreciate his effort.. I'm obviously interested in Sag harbor seeing it may be an option for Springs kids next year. The Sag Harbor School Board, at least one member, is trying to blame Bernard for the mess he has created with the teachers where the board budgeted low and offered high in negotiations and are now in a bind. They also have egg on there faces for giving ...more
By hohum123 (91), springs on Mar 12, 10 5:02 PM
The school board in Sag harbor has forced its administrators to under budget for a number of years with the "zero based budget" theory and demands to not increase spending by more than a couple of percent, when evrything was going up. Also the administrators were not to sacrifice programs. Tall order. Year after year the Board passed budgets to make allow tax rates to stay low so they could get re-elected. The the Board has created the exact situation they wanted...low fund balances.....loss ...more
By moomaa (2), east hampton on Mar 13, 10 10:28 AM