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Story - Education

Apr 21, 2010 10:57 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton School Board approves $57.3 million budget

Apr 21, 2010 10:57 AM

The Southampton School Board adopted a 2010-11 budget of nearly $57.3 million on Tuesday night, with only one board member casting a dissenting vote.

The adopted budget, which must still be approved by district taxpayers in May, represents an increase of $1.9 million, or 3.45 percent, over the current year’s nearly $55.4 million spending plan.

If approved as is, the district’s tax rate will climb from $2.28 to $2.30 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, an increase of less than 1 percent. Therefore, a taxpayer living in a home assessed at $1 million will pay about $2,300 in school property taxes, or about $20 more than the current year. To help reduce the tax levy, the board transferred $580,000 from an excess fund balance, according to district officials.

In recent weeks, as they were looking to narrow their budget gap, School Board members included an additional $675,000 worth of expenses to support the district’s food service program and expand summer programs. The money was also needed for an after-school academy designed for students considered to be at risk of dropping out.

The board also tried to attract senior faculty members to take an early retirement incentive. On Tuesday, Dr. Nicholas Dyno, the assistant superintendent for instruction, said the new budget calls for the elimination of four teacher and five teaching assistant positions.

Dr. Laura McMahon was the lone board member to oppose the budget, saying she believed more expenses could have been trimmed from the spending plan. Also outspoken against the budget were at least six members of the district’s Budget Advisory Committee, which called for a one-year freeze on staff salaries and benefits, which make up about 80 percent of the operating budget, and to base district administrators’ pay increases on exceptional performance goals.

The district plans to hold a public hearing on its adopted budget on Tuesday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Southampton Intermediate School library. District taxpayers can vote on the spending plan on Tuesday, May 18, between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m., in the Southampton High School auxiliary gymnasium.

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They just don't get it. Let's try this. No increase to the budget. Teachers and administrators take a 25% pay cut, elimination of pension contributions and employees contribute 25% toward health care costs.
By BM (10), Southampton on Apr 26, 10 2:11 PM
It is a $20 a year increase. Relax
By setyoufree (69), Sag Harbor on Apr 26, 10 9:22 PM
I'm all about fiscal responsibility, but doesn't that seem a bit drastic, BM? No increase in the budget, I'm right there with you, but shouldn't the rest be decided by the board and the union compromising? As long as the budget is set, why does it matter to you where the money is spent, let them decide (as long as they stay on budget)
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Apr 27, 10 2:04 AM
How about no tax increase period. How about working with he capital you HAVE in hand which is last years numbers. How about making the school and its customers partners in the education of children and our future generation. That is 50/50 partnership. That's when my money is not more important than their services and visa versa. That assumes responsibility on both sides AND accountablility. That's social and fiscal responcibility. Stop treating the tax payer like some "market" where the focus is ...more
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Apr 27, 10 8:29 AM
PS now you grammar and debate experts can pick apart my comment and again micro analize what I've said and do what you do best..,.put form over content.
By Bob Schepps (77), Southampton on Apr 27, 10 8:32 AM
i understand it is ONLY a $20.00 per year increase.

However, what if the fat is trimmed from this budget so - there not only needs to be NO increase to the community, but we might actually discover that we had more money than we realized.

I don't think this budget has been scrutinized as well as it could have been. I think it was easiest to give it a cursory examination and put the rest on US.
By concerned east ender (49), Sag Harbor on Apr 27, 10 12:34 PM
how many students are in southampton schools? 1700? $57.3 million divided by 1700 = $34,000 per year per student. are these kids getting a $34,000 education?
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Apr 27, 10 11:05 PM
You forget to take into account the costs of maintaining the school building, electricity, janitorial staff, etc. unfortunately, the money does NOT all go to educating the students. Besides, you cannot put a price on the future of our kids and, in turn, our community.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Apr 28, 10 10:54 AM
Read the fine print! It's pretty small! peoplefirst: you forget that contracts are about 70% of the budget. If the Board of Ed. gave the direction to the Superintendent or vice versa to hold the teacher's contract to a 0% increase JUST this year the majority of the staff would still get approximately a 4% raise with thier steps! In today's economical distress almost anyone would be happy just to earn the same amount this year.
By macfish3 (4), water mill on May 12, 10 7:13 PM
setyoufree: you seem to have many comments from a Sag Harbor resident to Southampton and Tuckahoe. Do you pay taxes to three districts?
By macfish3 (4), water mill on May 12, 10 7:59 PM