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Story - Education

Jun 17, 2009 2:26 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach school officials urge residents to protest tuition rate changes

Jun 17, 2009 2:26 PM

Westhampton Beach school officials are urging district taxpayers to register their complaints with the New York State Board of Regents regarding recent changes to the tuition rate formula, modifications that could potentially costs the district hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

The Board of Regents recently altered the Seneca Falls tuition formula, which determines the tuition rates that can be charged by all districts in the state, while making modifications to the way educational aid can be dispersed. Westhampton Beach officials said the new formula is unfair because the tuition rate change was never discussed in public before it was implemented.

The Board of Regents is accepting written comments about the changes until Monday, June 22, Westhampton Beach School Board President Aram Terchunian announced at Monday night’s board meeting. He encouraged district taxpayers to visit the school district’s website, westhamptonbeach.k12.ny.us, and voice their opposition to the formula change.

Earlier this spring, Westhampton Beach sued the New York State Board of Regents regarding the formula change. A hearing on the lawsuit will be held in New York State Supreme Court this summer, according to Mr. Terchunian.

The changes to the Seneca Falls formula, which was named after a decision regarding tuition payments in that upstate school district in the 1960s, could result in increased taxes in Westhampton Beach, according to Mr. Terchunian. The Board of Regents altered the tuition rate formula so that it is now based on average daily membership, not average daily attendance of students. The alteration lowers expenses in sending districts, such as East Quogue and East Moriches, but also increases expenses in Westhampton Beach.

Additionally, the change is retroactive to the 2007-08 school year, and could potentially cost Westhampton Beach taxpayers as much as an extra $600,000 per year, Mr. Terchunian said.

“The most effective thing the Westhampton Beach taxpayer can do is to get a fax or e-mail up to the Board of Regents by June 22,” Mr. Terchunian said, adding that there would be a hearing on the change in Albany in July.

The district currently charges about $18,100 for each student who comes from one of Westhampton Beach’s sending districts: Remsenburg/Speonk, Quogue, East Quogue, Tuckahoe and East Moriches. Under the changes made by the Board of Regents, the district can only charge about $17,300 for each student.

Westhampton Beach School Superintendent Lynn Schwartz said the formula change was made when the state implemented similar modifications to how it allocates other types of aid in 2007.

The Remsenburg/Speonk, East Quogue, East Moriches and Quogue school districts are now contemplating whether to sue Westhampton Beach for charging too much in tuition over the past few years. Westhampton Beach collectively owes about $550,000 in tuition refunds to the East Moriches, Remsenburg/Speonk and East Quogue school districts, according to New York State officials.

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It would have been nice if Jessica had contact the sending districts in regards to the WHB Boards decision to request their residents to send a letter to the NYS Dept of Ed. in regards to the tution formula. The letter indicates that the district provides an excellent eduction for the students attending and that the burden of taxes falls on the shoulders of WHB school district residents. WHB send about 30% of the students and the sending districts 70%. The sending districts pay more than there ...more
By Mustang (3), remsenburg on Jun 17, 09 3:21 PM
Mustang (remsenburg) has identified the love - hate relationship between the sending districts and WHB school district. They love the education, hate to pay for it. District boundaries remain a fault line that will repeatedly fracture, particularly during ecomonic stress.
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jun 18, 09 10:14 AM