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Mar 19, 2019 2:12 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East End School Districts Reveal Preliminary Budget Figures For 2019-20 School Year

The East Quogue Board of Education. VALERIE GORDON
Mar 21, 2019 11:01 AM

School districts on the South Fork—with the lone exception of Eastport-South Manor—are not planning to pierce the state-mandated cap on tax levy increases in the upcoming school year.

According to Eastport-South Manor Business Administrator Timothy Laube, the district is anticipating a $96.5 million budget for the upcoming school year—a 3.2 percent increase from last year’s $93.5 million spending plan.

The $3 million increase still would be within the limits of the state-mandated tax levy cap, because of various exceptions; however, the district is planning to ask taxpayers to vote on a separate proposition to add armed security guards to the district’s schools. If approved, the budget is expected to increase by an additional $512,411, which would push the district over the cap.

The district has notified the state of that possibility. Mr. Laube said this week that the major increases, in addition to the new security feature, include a $1.5 million increase in employee salaries, as well as a $579,000 increase in retirement expenses.

At a budget meeting on Tuesday, Westhampton Beach Superintendent Michael Radday said that he anticipates the district’s preliminary 2019-20 budget to land close to $58.4 million—a 2.25 percent increase from the current year’s spending plan. However, he stressed that district officials are still working on crunching the numbers to potentially bring it below that estimate.

Mr. Radday expects to see spending increases in several lines of the budget, including special education, special education transportation, English as a New Language, or ENL, student costs, and health insurance for employees.

Bridgehampton Superintendent Robert Hauser said the district’s tentative budget for the upcoming fiscal year is roughly $18.7 million—a 14.7 percent increase from last year’s budget.

“Obviously, we are about 60 days away from the actual budget vote,” he said. “At this point, we are not expecting to pierce.”

Mr. Hauser said that the $2.4 million increase is mainly due to the voter approved construction project, which will add an additional 35,000-square-foot addition to the rear of the school. The bond debt for this year equates to roughly $1.1 million, he said.

Additionally, the district is looking to hire a new mathematics and science teacher, as well as a director of special education and an assistant principal.

At a Southampton Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, March 13, Assistant Superintendent for Business Jean Mingot unveiled the district’s $72.2 million preliminary budget for the 2019-20 school year—a 2.6 percent increase from last year.

In an email, Mr. Mingot said, “I’d like to stress that these numbers are still preliminary. The [Board of Education], as well as district administration, still have the option to make changes that could impact the final numbers.”

He added that the district’s tax rate is also expected decrease by 4.4 percent due to an increase in property assessments, “which also is still preliminary at this point until the town assessor gives me the final numbers.”

Preliminary budget figures show that a homeowner whose house is valued at $1,597,000 will pay $3,326 in school taxes next year, a decrease of $137 from the previous year.

The board is expected to adopt the proposed budget at the next meeting on April 2. District taxpayers will be asked to approve that spending plan on May 21.

Last week, Hampton Bays Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Lawrence Luce offered a preliminary budget figure of $54 million for the upcoming school year—a 2.9 percent increase from last year.

He added that projected spending increases include salaries, health insurance, transportation and material costs.

Additionally, Mr. Luce said that the district is expecting to see a $100,000 increase from $5.8 million to $5.9 million—or 1.7 percent—in state aid for the 2019-20 school year. However, he stressed that those figures are subject to change, noting that the state budget is not finalized until April 1.

“It’s a guessing game, really, until the state budget,” he said.

East Hampton Assistant Superintendent for Business Jerel Cokley said that the district is expecting to see a $70.9 million budget for the upcoming school year—a $1.1 million, or 1.6 percent, increase from the previous year. “It’s just an estimate at this point,” he said.

He added last week that district officials have completed three out of four budget workshops, with the final workshop scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26.

The Quogue School District is planning to unveil its 2019-20 preliminary budget at its next Board of Education meeting on April 16—and district officials said last week that they do not anticipate it piercing the cap on tax levy increases.

Superintendent Jeffrey Ryvicker said that the district is expecting to see an increase in several lines of the budget, including salaries and Westhampton Beach tuition costs.

Westhampton Beach collects tuition from the Quogue School District annually to educate both junior high and high school students—or roughly 58 students as of February, according to Mr. Ryvicker. The district allocated $1.3 million toward tuition costs last year.

East Quogue is also expecting to see an increase in Westhampton Beach tuition costs this year, according to Superintendent and Principal Robert Long.

He said on Tuesday that the district is expecting to see a 3-percent increase in tuition costs in the 2019-20 school year. Last year, the district paid $10.7 million to Westhampton Beach, whereas this year, Mr. Long is expecting that number to land somewhere between $11 and $12 million.

The overall district budget is projected to be close to $25.9 million—or roughly a 2.8 percent increase from last year’s $25.2 million spending plan.

“We’re refining that number minute by minute,” Mr. Long said on Tuesday.

Mr. Long attributed the additional costs to the need to hire a new part-time counselor. Currently, the district employs one school psychologist.

“We’ve indicated to the state that it’s not our intention to pierce,” he said.

Sag Harbor School District officials could not offer a preliminary budget figure for the upcoming school year last week, according to Mary Adamczyk, secretary to the superintendent. However, she did confirm that the district will not be piercing the tax cap.

She added that the administration will unveil the district’s proposed 2019-20 budget at the next Board of Education meeting on April 1.

In an email on Tuesday, Amagansett School District Treasurer Thomas Mager said that the district is anticipating a $10.9 million preliminary budget for the upcoming school year—a 1.5 percent increase.

He noted that the district’s tax levy limit calculation yielded an allowed levy increase of 3.13 percent, and that the district is planning to levy 3 percent, or a total of $9,863,103 from taxpayers. “We are not piercing the tax cap,” Mr. Mager said.

According to the most recent budget worksheet, available on the Tuckahoe Common School District website, the Magee Street school is anticipating a $21.9 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year—a 3.7 percent increase from the current year's spening plan.

Transportation expenses are expected to increase by roughly $84,000, and instruction costs, such as summer school supplies, computer equipment, salaries and special education services, are expected to increase by $554,950.

Montauk School District officials did not offer any information other than that they are not planning to pierce the cap.

Springs School Superintendent Debra Winter wrote in an email on Wednesday that the district has indicated to the state that it will not pierce the tax cap on tax levy increases for the 2019-20 school year.

Remsenburg-Speonk Superintendent Ronald Masera said that the district also will not be piercing the tax levy cap for the upcoming fiscal year.

Sagaponack School Superintendent Alan Van Cott, and was not immediately available on Wednesday.

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Keep spending money you don't have. School unions are destroying long island. Selfish teachers
By chief1 (2699), southampton on Mar 20, 19 1:00 PM
It's not the teachers for the most part. It's the top (and bottom heavy) administration. Too much fat in each building and it's only gotten worse since we left. Hire hire hire more staff. Not higher education.
By deepchanel (78), Hampton Bays on Mar 20, 19 3:23 PM
Isn’t there a 2% cap?
By bigfresh (4310), north sea on Mar 20, 19 3:58 PM
Where is the savings that was announced from the teachers pension system going. Everyone's spending it?
By Ref11 (14), hampton bays on Mar 20, 19 5:58 PM
The increases are overwhelmingly healthcare insurance for school admins, teachers and janitors and the healthcare portion of the pension liability. It's odd considering that SUNY Southampton Hospital system dominates by a huge proportion the health care services for these school districts.

When there is only one healthcare provider, and that provider is owned by the State government, why are we paying insurance companies? Why do we pay at all?

If you add up the healthcare ...more
By dfree (735), hampton bays on Mar 21, 19 6:18 AM
How about when the current employee contract comes up the health care portion is cut out and OUR employees can be responsible for those costs themselves?
By bigfresh (4310), north sea on Mar 21, 19 8:24 AM
That's called a pay cut. How often do employees agree to those?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6437), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 21, 19 8:50 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By dfree (735), hampton bays on Mar 21, 19 12:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
The teachers I know have boats, fancy cars, investment homes, constantly travel, belong to country clubs and golf clubs and otherwise live like the top 1%.
By SlimeAlive (1180), Southampton on Mar 21, 19 7:26 AM
Jealous???? Then go to college get a masters. Have years of college loans and like most teachers on the east end get a 2nd job.

Its called working hard to do what you want with your life and then get what you want. American dream
By USAfirst (8), Hampton Bays on Mar 21, 19 11:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
Not everybody on the east end can be an electrician, plumber, and pool builder to have all those things. My friends who do that are members at country clubs, have ski houses, and drive big boats. Some were given the business by daddy and some worked hard for it. Get off your computer and work
By USAfirst (8), Hampton Bays on Mar 21, 19 12:00 PM
Look, it's evident I hit a nerve as you became extremely defensive. I neither spoke positively nor negatively about it. It was just an observation.
By SlimeAlive (1180), Southampton on Mar 22, 19 7:48 AM
You and I must know different teachers, but it did sound like you were implying teachers shouldn't be able to afford any of those things.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6437), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 22, 19 12:16 PM
I send my kids to private school and they have a fraction of the administrative staff found at public schools. Its a scam, period. Anyone who tells you otherwise is an idiot or is benefiting in some way. Public schools should be closed and people issued vouchers so they can send their kids to the school of their choice; let competition raise the bar.

One other thing about public schools; they teach DOWN to the lowest common denominator while private schools teach UP.
By Preliator Lives (389), Obamavillie on Mar 21, 19 8:22 AM
1 member liked this comment
Close the schools. Give all students a lap top and home school everyone. No more buildings, a lot less teachers, costs would go way down. Schools are an antiquated idea. Its the 21 st century think outside the box. Also post all teachers and administrators salaries and pensions. Make it mandatory in every budget. People have a right to know what theyre paying and why their taxes are so high.
By jim (45), hampton bays on Mar 21, 19 11:22 AM
Why do taxpayers have to pay for teachers to teach students to learn to speak English. Any potential student who doesnt speak Englsh should be given dvds that teach you Englsh before you enroll in school. This way the parents can learn too. Spend your summer learning to speak English then come to school ready to learn.
By jim (45), hampton bays on Mar 21, 19 11:31 AM
Monopoly money! There’s enough blame to go around about the out of control spending. A honest discussion is needed with out hiding behind its all about the children.
By derwin (1), remsenberg on Mar 21, 19 11:45 AM
Wasn't there recently an article predicting a 20% decline in students? In anticipation, shouldn't Bridgehampton cancel it's construction plans? Why build a building that will be unnecessary in a couple of years.
By bird (780), Sag Harbor on Mar 21, 19 12:26 PM
The article regarding the 20% decline in students was for the Southampton school district, not Bridgehampton. Of the K-12 schools listed, Bridgehampton is the lowest proposed budget.
By MrsD (46), Hampton Bays on Mar 21, 19 1:03 PM
It should logically follow that if SHSD is expecting declining enrollment, BHSD should also. As for their "lowest" budget, they are among the smallest of school districts spending among the most per student.
By bird (780), Sag Harbor on Mar 21, 19 1:07 PM
Actually, the enrollment at Bridgehampton has increased annually (source: data.nysed.gov). And yes, while they have the lowest budget, their cost per student is more because that's a simple matter of budget divided by number of students equals the cost per student. As the enrollment increases, so will the cost per student.
By MrsD (46), Hampton Bays on Mar 22, 19 1:46 PM
Edited: As the enrollment increases, the cost per student will decrease
By MrsD (46), Hampton Bays on Mar 22, 19 3:12 PM
MrsD - I'll assume your last sentence is a typo and that you meant, "As the enrollment increases, the cost per student will decrease." This is what should happen but history has shown it not to be true.

I checked your source and went back 5 years. With the exception of 2019, SHSD has had increases in student population on par with those at BHSD. Perhaps you have knowledge of where SHSD is getting data that would cause them to believe their enrollment numbers will decline 20% over the next ...more
By bird (780), Sag Harbor on Mar 22, 19 3:19 PM
Perhaps merit based pay for teachers, eliminate the superintendent positions and pay someone from the private sector per diem to take care of the actual work that needs to be done?
By bigfresh (4310), north sea on Mar 22, 19 7:41 AM
So East Quogue needs to raise taxes because of a need for a part-time psychologist and an increase in WHB tuition. I find it funny that those are the two reasons they decided to go with this year. Ms. Gordon wrote articles on both of those reasons just last year. Here are excerpts:

Southampton Press 5/14/18:
“The East Quogue School District’s decision to fund a full-time assistant principal position in the 2018-19 budget has at least one critic: former School Board member ...more
By cmac (175), East Quogue on Mar 22, 19 8:21 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By dfree (735), hampton bays on Mar 22, 19 9:01 AM

"Preliminary budget figures show that a homeowner whose house is valued at $1,597,000 will pay $3,326 in school taxes next year, a decrease of $137 from the previous year."

Reading most comments, this is what I hear:

"I own a house valued at $1.6 million, and I have to pay $3,300 in school taxes! Waaaah!" *throws temper tantrum*

Unbelievable. Cry me a river.
By local resident 10 (19), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 23, 19 6:29 PM
That's only the school portion of the tax bill which is about half. The other half is for our poisonous water supply, the pensions, salaries and healthcare for our 8 different police forces, the parks without bathrooms, the lack of garbage pickup, and the development of low income housing so that rich folk with estates can get their hedges clipped easily and swiftly by importing poor people to live in government housing projects.
By dfree (735), hampton bays on Mar 25, 19 10:48 AM
SEVENTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS DIVIDED BY 1,600 STUDENTS IS
$45,000 PER STUDENT!!!!!
By foodwhiner (141), Southampton on Apr 4, 19 11:25 AM
good maths bro. You should thank a teacher!
By C Law (340), Water Mill on Apr 4, 19 11:41 AM
bay street, sag harbor,