As the Bridgehampton School District released its proposed budget calling for a 4-percent spending increase from last year, without piercing a state cap on tax levy increases, the school’s superintendent and principal announced that she plans to retire at the beginning of 2018.
Dr. Lois Favre, who replaced former Bridgehampton Superintendent Dr. Dianne Youngblood in 2010, said in an email that she plans to retire in January 2018, pending School Board approval. She said since she is eligible for retirement, she is ready to spend some quality time with her family and travel.
As far as who would replace her in her positions as principal and superintendent, Dr. Favre said she does not anticipate “additional” administrators needing to be hired, meaning she plans for her replacements to be hired from within the district.
“As an administrative team, we are working on a transition plan to bring to the board for consideration,” Dr. Favre said. “Ultimately, we have been building a strong administrative team for the past seven years, so I have no doubt that the transition plan will meet the needs of the staff, students and community, once completed.”
Her decision to retire comes just months after the Bridgehampton School District was approved to issue bonds for a $24.7 million building expansion project that includes a new gymnasium, locker rooms, fitness center, cafeteria, music suite and technology room. It will also include the partial reconstruction of the existing Bridgehampton School building to provide a new auditorium, library, media center, classrooms and other spaces.
Bridgehampton School District officials recently held a community forum on the proposed budget for the 2017-18 school year. It projects a budget of $14,356,463, which would be a 4.2 percent increase in spending, or $578,024, from last year’s budget. This increase is allowable, largely due to the fact that capital projects such as the school’s expansion and retirement system increases are exempt from the calculations for tax levy limits set by the state.
This year’s allowable levy growth factor across the state is 1.26 percent, which would be a $150,708 increase in Bridgehampton. However, Bridgehampton’s tax base growth factor is 4.31 percent, or $515,518. So the total that the district is allowed to raise is $666,226, according to a presentation from Dr. Favre and Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Facilities Robert Hauser. It was not immediately clear how much the projected full tax levy would be.
It should be noted that typically the proposed budget is more than the actual budget that is adopted, and more than $5 million has been cut in the budget finalization process over the past seven years.
Although Southampton Town Sole Assessor Lisa Goree is not scheduled to release the preliminary assessment values within the municipality until the beginning of April, assuming there is no change to the assessed value in Bridgehampton, the projected tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value in the district would be $1.79, according to a presentation from school officials.
Dr. Favre said she anticipates the budget to be adopted at the Bridgehampton School Board’s April meeting, scheduled for April 19.
Dr. Favre grew up in Ronkonkoma and attended the Sachem School District. She attended Ladycliff College in Highland Falls, where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and education, and went on to pursue a doctorate in instructional leadership at St. John’s University in New York City.