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Story - Education

Oct 13, 2009 1:57 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Springs and East Hampton school districts at odds again over tuition

Oct 13, 2009 1:57 PM

The East Hampton School District will do everything “legally possible” to recover money from the Springs School District after Springs deducted just less than $75,500 from a recent tuition payment, said East Hampton Superintendent Raymond Gualtieri at a board meeting on October 6.

He said the Springs district had retroactively deducted tuition payments for two students who lived outside of Springs for either all or some of the time they attended East Hampton High School. The money was deducted from Springs’ payment for June tuition to East Hampton that was received in September.

Springs currently sends about 260 students to the East Hampton High School and pays a monthly bill that adds up to about $21,000 a year for general education students and about $49,000 a year for special education students, said Springs Superintendent Michael Hartner this week.

The majority of the money is from four years’ worth of tuition for a student that the Springs district has discovered moved from the Springs district to East Hampton in 2005, the summer before she started high school, he said.

Dr. Gualtieri said that Springs receives 10 tuition bills a year and that the administration signed off on every bill received throughout the student’s four years at East Hampton High School.

“Every bill had her name on it,” he said. “After 40 bills, they never raised the issue until after she graduated.”

Mr. Hartner said the school realized the student did not live in Springs in May when a scholarship application the student had submitted listed an East Hampton address. He said the district immediately looked into the issue and the family informed the administration that it had not lived in Springs for the student’s entire high school career. He said the Springs district immediately notified the East Hampton district and asked for a reduction on the June bill, but that bill arrived without any adjustments.

Mr. Hartner said Springs paid only what it believed was the fair amount. He said that since this incident, Springs has instituted a system of verifying students’ addresses during the summer before they enter the high school, so there shouldn’t be confusion in the future.

“But this is something that did occur and we don’t believe we should be paying the bill,” he said.

The amount deducted also includes April through June tuition for another student, who the Springs district claims moved to Montauk at the beginning of that period, Dr. Gualtieri said. He said that Springs wants the Montauk School District to pay the difference for that student but the Montauk district has refused.

Dr. Gualtieri said the East Hampton School District educated the students and regardless of where they actually lived they need to be paid for. He said it is Springs’ responsibility to ensure the students it is paying for actually live in its district.

Mr. Hartner said that if a student moves mid-year and the family doesn’t specifically notify the district, it would be hard for Springs to realize that had happened.

“That’s something that would typically bubble up to the administration from a teacher or a bus driver who realizes a student is getting dropped off at school now or has changed bus stops,” he said. In the case of the student who moved to Montauk, Mr. Hartner said the district found out the family had moved through a younger sibling who was still attending the Springs School.

Mr. Hartner, who was alerted that East Hampton would take legal action by a letter from Springs’ attorney that he received on October 6, said he was discouraged that East Hampton would not accept Springs’ position because last year, Springs paid a bill sent from East Hampton that dated back to the 2004-2005 academic year.

“I hope that we can come to an agreement as to how we are going to handle these things,” he said. “We’d like to follow the same principles rather than change midstream.”

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Sounds like the East Hampton Supervisor thinks this is a card game where you pay for your mistakes regardless of the facts. Nice guy to have educating our kids. Yet when they messed up the building contract they did not want to pay. Double standard another bum weilding power...get rid of him before he does anymore damage. He is impossible and arrogant and it is starting to sound all so familiar.
By jekgbs (35), East Hampton on Oct 14, 09 10:25 AM
Apparently Chris Kelley has not been doing his job either.
By Board Watcher (532), East Hampton on Oct 19, 09 12:00 AM
Future Stars, Summer Camps,