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May 19, 2015 10:45 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Central High School Proposal To Be Vetted On Thursday

May 20, 2015 9:16 AM

The Tuckahoe School District will host a meeting today, May 21, to discuss the possibility of creating a regional or central high school on the East End.

Administrators from several East End school districts, State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services Chief Operating Officer Dr. Julie Lutz all are slated to attend and discuss the realities and possibilities for such a school.

A regional or centralized high school has been casually discussed for years, but the idea started to gain more steam with the implementation of the state cap on tax levy increases in 2011, which makes it increasingly difficult for smaller districts to survive, particularly those that pay high tuition fees to educate high school, and in some cases middle school, students.

Nine of the South Fork’s 15 school districts pay tuition for their older students at rates largely determined by the receiving districts. Tuition contracts have traditionally allowed small districts to maintain their local identities while still providing their students with a good high school education elsewhere.

Although mergers have been discussed in the area for decades, administrators took a major step toward consolidating in March 2012, when seven school districts, along with BOCES, asked the state to fund an efficiency study to consider whether consolidations would be a positive step. The grant for the study, which included the Springs, Hampton Bays, East Hampton, Southampton, Sag Harbor, Montauk and Tuckahoe districts, was eventually denied. Several of the districts tried again a year later, again with no luck.

The largest push for a merger has been between the Southampton and Tuckahoe districts, which brought the proposition to the taxpayers, twice. Taxpayers in Southampton, where Tuckahoe students attend high school, rejected the proposition both times.

The meeting is open to the public and is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Tuckahoe School on Magee Street.

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Silliest idea to come out of these parts in a long time. As a taxpayer, I would appreciate it if you could minimize the cumulative time wasted on this non-starter.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on May 19, 15 11:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
What a terrible idea! The bus commutes this would involve alone should kill the idea. Second, does anyone want a big, homogenized school that would be little more than an education factory? This sounds more like New Jersey than the East End.
By Capt. Phil (63), Southampton on May 19, 15 12:25 PM
The savings on administrative salaries and pensions alone would get a 10% off the top reduction in budgets. Having senior administrators for school districts like Tuckkahoe, Quogue and the Springs makes no sense. And those kids already get bussed long distance to high school.
By David Friedensohn (1), Hampton Bays on May 19, 15 1:12 PM
This is called rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while approaching the iceberg. In approx. 10 years when the high pensions kick in NY will have a helluva problem. New York's pension plans will be insolvent, and we will need a new way to skin the cat. So we will put all the schools together( saving zero) and raise taxes in Southampton, and East Hampton to fill in the void. Fred Thiele is a huge problem. He loves spending money, and trying to collect it later. You can spend all the money ...more
By chief1 (2783), southampton on May 19, 15 4:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
So you think there's 10 more years of the small cash cow school districts subsidizing the taxpayers of the larger districts? I don't think it will take that long, the state will have to step in before then. I don't think there will be a lot of sympathy when your tax rates come more in line with the real world.
By lamm (304), Southampton on May 19, 15 10:31 PM
More than half the school districts on the east end are paying tuition, the only answer is consolidation. It would be detrimental to the larger schools if the small districts pulled out, and clearly the high tuition rates are killing the small districts. The only feasible, long term solution is consolidation. East Hampton, Westhampton, Southampton, Hampton Bays, Sag Harbor. There is no need for more than five school districts in an area of our population. Hampton Bays kids shouldn't be going ...more
By lamm (304), Southampton on May 19, 15 10:42 PM
Dr. Stotsky has warned the public about the move to regionalized control of public education. The state's 2% tax cap (amoung other things) is working perfectly by financially straining local school districts and force them to consider consolidation. This is all about the public losing local control.
By April1 (156), Southampton on May 24, 15 11:48 AM
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