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Jun 21, 2016 9:44 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Second Tuckahoe School Budget Proposal Fails To Muster Enough Voter Support

Interim Superintendent Dr. Alan Gerstenlauer was disappointed that the second budget proposal failed to get voter approval on Tuesday night. GREG WEHNER
Jun 22, 2016 10:31 AM

For the second time this year, the Tuckahoe School District failed to secure a supermajority of voter approval for a 2016-17 school budget.

Tuckahoe School District residents voted on Tuesday, 215-186, in favor of the budget, but that was 26 votes shy of the 60-percent supermajority needed to pierce the state cap on tax levy increases. Since the budget has been defeated for a second time, Tuckahoe now will be forced to adopt a zero-percent tax levy increase.

“I’m a little disappointed with the result,” Interim Superintendent Dr. Allan Gerstenlauer said at the school after the votes were counted. “I think it speaks to the difficulty of trying to operate a school system under a tax levy limit that’s impractical. It makes it very, very difficult to sustain programs.”

Dr. Gerstenlauer said the zero-percent tax levy increase means the district will have to adopt a contingency budget that cuts all spending on new equipment, including computer technology and maintenance items, as well as some capital projects—which ones, specifically, will be discussed at a School Board meeting on Monday, June 27.

Like the original budget proposal, which was approved by a single vote in May but failed to muster the required 60 percent of ballots cast, the second budget proposal would have pierced the state cap. However, $240,000 was shaved from the original $19,533,000 proposal, leaving a proposed budget of $19,293,000, which meant a tax levy of $17,756,317, up 1.75 percent.

The revised spending plan was $197,607 more than the 2015-16 budget of $19,095,393.

School Business Administrator Dr. Philip Kenter said the most recent proposal was a bare-bones budget that retained all programs and staff, though it eliminated summer school, as well as a proposal to hire a security guard. A long-term tuition agreement with the Southampton School District also saved money, he said.

The allowable tax levy increase set by the state is 0.38 percent. The vote in May was 146-145, short of a supermajority by about 175 votes.

The School Board has a work session scheduled for Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Tuckahoe School, where Dr. Gerstenlauer said they plan to discuss the list of cuts in detail.

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Oh, my
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Jun 21, 16 10:17 PM
Why not sell the two district owned pieces of property?
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Jun 21, 16 10:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
They can't sell the house property because they started to tear it apart to the tune of ~$30,000 tax payer's money before the voter's turned down making it into a residence for the superintendent. So now there are only exposed 2x4 studs. Feel free to verify this by looking through the windows.
By longtimelocal (32), Southampton on Jun 21, 16 10:38 PM
Sell it for land value.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Jun 22, 16 9:52 AM
So the district has two parcels of land, that, if/when sold would help out with the district finances.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Jun 22, 16 1:47 PM
Thank you for that advice Joan, however the land was not purchased as an investment property, it was simply purchased to comply with the land to building ratio that the school received a waiver for when the middle school addition was constructed. The waiver came with the agreement that the school would purchase the parcels to be in compliance. Seashell Realtys services are not needed at this time.
By jmcorwith (8), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 8:46 AM
Makes it tough to sell when you have hysterical, low rent real estate agents running around like lunatics tearing the district to shreds, using untruths and hyperbolic dramatics, in an attempt to play the part of some type of pseudo-watchperson. You can save it too, Joan.
By SlimeAlive (1139), Southampton on Jun 24, 16 4:02 PM
Let's pay ~$200,000 to a new superintendent who shows up to work a couple of months, has a legal issue, gets ~$100,000 to walk away and the school board wants to pierce the tax cap. NOT!!!!!! I'm glad to see that some voter sanity still exists.
By longtimelocal (32), Southampton on Jun 21, 16 10:46 PM
3 members liked this comment
Well done residents . - Maybe someone will find a way to tax those golf corses finally. Would love to see real budget breakdown showing actual staff and benefits increases year over year !! Oh sorry those items can never be cut.
And also copy of the checkbook showing other dollars just being paid away with zero transparency .- dare not dive into tiny motels style or "crowded housing" with large population heading to school with little contribution to the system .....
By Jay Tuckahoe (7), Southampton on Jun 21, 16 10:56 PM
2 members liked this comment
Instead of complaining about things you don't have correct information about, perhaps you could attend a board meeting and ask questions instead of coming up with these crazy conspiracy theories and ridiculous stories you have made up all while hiding behind a made up name. Have you ever played the game 'telephone' as a child... When a sentence is said at the beginning of a line and then passed down to not even resemble what was actually said. The community has been complaining about things they ...more
By jmcorwith (8), Southampton on Jun 21, 16 11:32 PM
I think it's you that must be living in a bubble , don't you get it , local taxpayers are fed up of the ask / ask/ ask for more and more money from the small pool of tax payers around the area, try following a school bus going to tuckahoe school and look where the students come from , many of these properties are paying minimal in taxes while burdening the rest of the tax payers (excluding the golf courses needless to say ) please try to look at the line items on the actual budget in which the ...more
By Jay Tuckahoe (7), Southampton on Jun 21, 16 11:59 PM
Oh and the Dr mentioned it's difficult operating a budget under a tax levy limit that is impractical - REALLY .......maybe we need to do the math and assume for a moment that such cap were never voted into law to protect tax payers from "run away budgets " based on initial "proposed" budgets for the last 10 years, the school portion of our taxe levy alone" Could "have increased by about 17.6% !!! thank goodness the law was past.
By Jay Tuckahoe (7), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 12:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
" Step back for one second and realize that investing in the education of our children is more important, and voting to take away from the kids "

This is not for the kids but for the egos of some dinosaur Trustees who keep dragging the school district to shameful mediocrity and subject the kids to self confidence killing educational performance and testing among the worst in New York State.

This is the only district in the area where residents, fed up with this totally incompetent ...more
By Obbservant (443), southampton on Jun 22, 16 12:34 AM
Only a lazy coward would anonymously spew personal insults at a volunteer board while suggesting they all quit so someone else can do the work. But, I do think your idea about the voting is a good one. Perhaps you should suggest the votes be held at exit 70 of the LIE on a Friday...

Sincerely,

Local Yahoo
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Jun 22, 16 7:58 AM
Well Said Obbservant.
By realistic (463), westhampton on Jun 22, 16 8:01 AM
Obbservant, have you considered running for the board... It seems you have all the answers (as flawed as they may be)...
By jmcorwith (8), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 8:45 AM
Obbservant, you have got to be kidding! Pretty much all of what you write is just plain wrong. I think you are the same vile person who referred to the students at Tuckahoe as "parasites on the community" a few years ago. So, sorry I will never EVER take anything you write seriously.
By tuckahoemom (19), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 9:05 AM
Not the same person, Obbservant doesn't live in the community any longer.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 12:37 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Obbservant (443), southampton on Jun 23, 16 1:08 AM
Please don't insult the Neanderthals. They were creative and intelligent people who were making tools, fire, and burying their dead long before Homo Sapiens. Some of us are even as much as 4% Neanderthal.

Thanks...
By Mr. Z (11012), North Sea on Jun 23, 16 1:55 AM
I can appreciate your frustration, however, it is not the Board of Trustees who have created this problem. Looking at the past 5 years alone, changes and additions of laws and regulations are immense. The State requires all students to take state tests even though they are new to the country and have never been in a school setting before (= low scores). They are placed in an age appropriate grade without the basics of knowing reading or writing. The new regulations require ENL (English as a new ...more
By seriously concerned (6), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 1:52 PM
There's a bill for that....
Senate Bill S7622 (currently in committee)
"The bill would enable school districts to increase their budget over the tax level limit without a supermajority vote as long as the increase does not exceed 2 percent."
By April1 (151), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 8:05 AM
Obbservant has been saying the same thing about the school board for years....there is only one Neanderthal on the board, the other members have routinely changed. As for letting others step in, nobody does. We have been running un opposed candidates that need to be urged to run again when nobody else steps up to the plate. I understand nobody wants higher taxes, and living next to one of the lowest taxed districts on Long Island doesn't help. It's somewhat counter productive to vote down reasonable ...more
By lamm (304), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 8:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
Lamm, the views of the two other young raptors you mentioned are virtually undistiguishable from those of the Tyrannausurus Rex you mention - three peas in a pod.

They come from the same gene pool of failed ideas that are very clear and obvious for everyone to see. For about the last ten years, the two were reliable backers of your lone culprit in his repeated whopping budget increases and some policies of which you were also complicit, like the decision to buy those two extra properties ...more
By Obbservant (443), southampton on Jun 22, 16 9:24 AM
Obbservant, I think it's time you step up to the plate and run for the Board It's been years you have had all the answers and have let poor Tuckahoe go into such a decline. How could someone so smart and so concerned let this happen???
By Infoseeker (271), Hampton Bays on Jun 22, 16 10:16 AM
obbservant, has already lost a few town races she ran in
By farmlocal (83), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 2:31 PM
Initials are CZ or LK?
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Jun 23, 16 6:58 AM
It's actually a man who used to go to a lot of board meetings but doesn't live here full time anymore.
By even flow (808), East Hampton on Jun 23, 16 11:29 AM
RS
By even flow (808), East Hampton on Jun 24, 16 5:21 AM
2 members liked this comment
Please stop with the investing in our children's future!!!! You mean to tell me that roughly $18 million dollars for 350 students is not an investment?
By GoldenBoy (338), EastEnd on Jun 22, 16 10:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
50k a student?
By chief1 (2637), southampton on Jun 22, 16 12:45 PM
Nice $50,000 per student. When you do the numbers its absolutely crazy. These kids could go to a top rated private school for that money (including room and board) plus would provide a great education and set them up for college. Tuckahoe should move towards doing that.
By realistic (463), westhampton on Jun 22, 16 1:34 PM
Can it just be said that this situation was pretty much anticipated when the Southampton-Tuckahoe "merger" was debated. The fact is, no matter who is on the board, no matter how much you cut programs, personnel or equipment, the school as a going concern's days are numbered. The merger (I know it wasn't technically a merger) was the only concrete way to assure both Tuckahoe's, and I'll go out on a limb and say Southampton's, future. The cost of running a school district in Suffolk County, at its ...more
By Rickenbacker (254), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 2:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well said Rickenbacker. The only thing that will help the school realistically it to tuition the kids to Hampton Bays, then everyone who voted no can watch their property values fall. The state will step in, and realistically that's what they'll likely require, and it will save grades Pre-k through 8. IF that happens, the Tuckahoe community will be sorry they kept voting down budgets, and the Southampton community will be sorry to see their taxes go up when they lose their Tuckahoe Cash Cow.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 8:33 PM
Obbservant, I don't have blinders on. I don't think it's a top notch education, but it does fulfill the needs of a community. A student can get as much or as little as they want from a school, it's in the hands of the families. IMO, there's a definite difference in the type of education that this community demands vs other up island schools. All your insulting comments don't change the fact that the community, in general, is happy with the quality of education (and many SHHS students attend ...more
By lamm (304), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 3:31 PM
Rickenbacker, The problem was when the Southampton school district voters rejected "the merger" they didn't incur any pain. Tuckahoe still sent all its high school students to Southampton. In fact they actually were rewarded because Tuckahoe is now contractually bound to send ALL its students to Southampton for the next five years. When Southampton turned down "the merger", Tuckahoe should have sent all its students to Westhampton. If Southampton lost ~100 premium paying students their budgets/programs ...more
By longtimelocal (32), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 5:56 PM
There is no way in hell that Southampton school district residents will ever vote to increase their taxes in return for Tuckahoe getting a lower rate. People CHOSE to live in the Tuckahoe district and were well aware that their property taxes would be through the roof, caveat emptor.
By bigfresh (4172), north sea on Jun 22, 16 6:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
That is the problem. Southampton is living off the fat of Tuckahoe. As long as Tuckahoe allows it to continue nothing will change.
By longtimelocal (32), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 8:39 PM
Two points I would like to make here:

First, I moved to Tuckahoe 30 years ago. I had not idea this would develop into 50K per student. I wish you would have clued me in, since you seem to be the one with the crystal ball. You would have saved me some grief.

Second: Your view about Southampton voters approving a merger is a moot point. In the end, the District is doomed, and those students are going to be educated somehow/somewhere. There is nothing like a fiscal crisis to force ...more
By gusef (35), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 9:32 PM
2 members liked this comment
Exactly
By lamm (304), Southampton on Jun 22, 16 10:48 PM
You can't be serious? Move to great neck where the property taxes on your home would change from about $6,000 per year to $25,000. The amount of money you have saved over 30 years by living in Tuckahoe is staggering. Not having kids and paying school taxes riles a lot of old people.
By SlimeAlive (1139), Southampton on Jun 25, 16 8:36 AM
Holy Mackeral. Here's the much more boring truth. The budget passed. Twice. Because of poorly written legislation a school that wants a 1.75% has to meet same supermajority as a school that asks for 30%.

Only the kids suffer when a budget is voted down. Building needs maintenance and union increases are legally mandated.

But the school was removed from NYS financial watch list. The one that SH district was put on due to cash flow issues. Tuckahoe will simply continue to truck ...more
Jun 23, 16 7:17 AM appended by KevinLuss
I almost forgot to mention that Obbservant has already begun helping the education process in Tuckahoe. This morning we used his post in which he complained about being unfairly attacked as a way to learn the vocabulary words of hypocrisy and irony.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Jun 23, 16 7:17 AM
"Only the kids suffer when a budget is voted down". What about seniors on fixed incomes when the bloated budget is passed? Do they matter to you?
Its time that people like yourself stop using the children as a weapon to justify the situation. 50k per student is nuts, and cannot be justified. Nobody wants to hurt the kids, but the District is not economical. And there are no indications that it ever will be. I repeat what I posted previously; If we, the residents, don't solve this problem together, ...more
By gusef (35), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 8:11 AM
50k per student is simply crazy - especially being picked up by such a small community. Question for someone out there ........why not simply work towards closing it down sooner than later , alternatives for the students will be found as they always are ( I am not suggesting it will be easy but alternatives will be found) . Or do we just sit and do nothing while the ship continues to sink , that would seem even more reckless . How to get that process moving along or voted on .
By Jay Tuckahoe (7), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 7:32 AM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you Jay Tuckahoe! A reasonable approach.
By gusef (35), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 8:22 AM
Are the teachers helping out with this??? Maybe they should offer not taking their 2 % step and other increases....
By powerwalker (52), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 8:54 AM
2 members liked this comment
It's not worth the time and effort to correct all the absolute blatant misinformation and ridiculousness in these comments. I have faith that there are still sane and educated people in our community that I know have better things to do than sit at their computer all day, and certainly don't get their "information" from anonymous comments.
Tuckahoe is not closing and will continue to provide the amazing education that it always has. Now please go find another hobby!
-Jenn Corwith
By jmcorwith (8), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 8:56 AM
Forgive me, but trying to control runaway expenses is not my "hobby".
By gusef (35), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 9:06 AM
Like it or not , the people have voted ( or those that were around to vote or legally able ) and that vote reflects zero confidence , I feel sure the majority that voted for more increases in the budget and taxes were those that have a vested interest in keeping this institution open , alas most parents in the area don't have many alternatives or ability to send their children to private schools. When are we going to drop this political correctness and being accountable to contracts and actually ...more
By Jay Tuckahoe (7), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 9:02 AM
The budget was rejected on a technicality. If the 2% tax cap law actually made sense then the 1.75% increase the school was asking for would not have needed a supermajority and it would have passed. I beg to differ on Zero Confidence, there are still many residents that understand the school is a gem.
Yes, cuts need to be made, I will not disagree there, but I can promise you the school isn't closing and it's certainly not circling the drain.
By jmcorwith (8), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 9:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
In my view, the 2% cap law makes perfect sense, and is working well. The proof is the fact that it has caused this issue to be brought into the forefront.
Perhaps you are right, Tuckahoe is a gem. But gems can be very pricey, and are out of reach for some of us.
By gusef (35), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 9:31 AM
No intelligent, let alone rational, discussion or exchange of ideas is possible when some participants claim that "Tuckahoe", without presenting one solitary academic metric or fact to back up that irrational claim that the school is a gem when one sees nothing but decay, rot, outrage, bloated costs, absurdly failing test scores, the lowest teacher hours spent in school in the region, poor teacher performance, the Board making one after the other disastrous decision about revolving door Superintendents ...more
By Obbservant (443), southampton on Jun 23, 16 10:35 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By even flow (808), East Hampton on Jun 23, 16 11:16 AM
No public school in the history of NY State has ever closed for insolvency. Your post reeks of misinformation and downright ignorance on any of the topics. The people feeding you information have used you to further their agenda. In the US if you live in a school district, you have to pay taxes to the school, just like the people who evidently wasted their hard earned income paying for your education.
By SlimeAlive (1139), Southampton on Jun 25, 16 8:40 AM
I’d like to correct the $50k per student number that’s been posted here as fact. It’s not fact, and doesn’t take into consideration the number of high school students attending Southampton from Tuckahoe. The number today is closer to $37,000 per student. Put this into perspective. It costs Southampton at least that much per student, maybe more. Tuckahoe also looks pretty efficient when compared to other small districts' budget per student ratio - $40,000 for Sagaponack students, ...more
By Rickenbacker (254), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 9:34 AM
Everything you have said makes sense to me. My main question is where and who are the leaders to enact this fusion? I don't know if the school boards do it. They seem to be more interested in managing their little fiefdoms and are somewhat opaque. There does not seem to me to be a central authority to do this. Taxpayers and voters will naturally vote to defend their best interests while some of the initiatives here as we know are painful and unfair to some. So how does this get done?
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 12:05 PM
That concerns me as well. Will it take a grass roots group to raise awareness? Who would the group be raising awareness for? I agree with you the school boards and administers won't likely vote themselves off the island, and it is very clear that any negative tax impacts will be resisted by whoever is impacted. How can local politicians, residents, and educators get involved. What would be the overriding goal, larger districts made up of, let's say Southampton, East Hampton and Sag Harbor, or a ...more
By Rickenbacker (254), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 1:29 PM
The amusing part of all these comments is that the man who no longer even has his child in the school thinks it's a hellhole, a toxic cesspool, and writes non stop inflammatory rhetoric about what a horrible place it is, and makes fun of the locals (a bit Trump sounding IMO). The parents with kids in the school tell a completely different, far more positive story. I guess it's all perspective.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Jun 23, 16 10:35 PM
3 members liked this comment
If the budget not passing is what it took for people to figure out who Obbservant is, then it was worth it. Years of putrid lies. Slick Rick!
By even flow (808), East Hampton on Jun 24, 16 5:20 AM
2 members liked this comment
What are you guys even talking about? We have a problem with our school, and it is incumbent upon us to fix it.
By Obbservant (443), southampton on Jun 24, 16 3:40 PM
You can take your ''we'' and your ''our'' and your ''us'' and stuff it up your budget vote. All of a sudden the local yahoos are "you guys" and "we" have to fix it. Save it.
By SlimeAlive (1139), Southampton on Jun 24, 16 4:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Simple. Too many students, not enough rich taxpayers. This has been going on for almost 20 years now, and nobody did anything about it. The root of the problem is the multiple families living in one house, with many children. An absolute population nightmare. So suck it up Tuckahoe. You made your bed. Now you get to worry about it. But you had your chance to stop the bleeding.
By Lets go mets (342), Southampton on Jun 24, 16 10:18 PM
hey Gene in Speonk, you are the first to bring race into the discussion, congratulations ,not sure how informed you are about the student population in the Tuckahoe District .
By bigfresh (4172), north sea on Jun 26, 16 7:53 AM
If you don't mind, he is most certainly not. Let me explain:

dare not dive into tiny motels style or "crowded housing" with large population heading to school with little contribution to the system .....
By Jay Tuckahoe (6), Southampton on Jun 21, 16 10:56 PM

try following a school bus going to tuckahoe school and look where the students come from , many of these properties are paying minimal in taxes while burdening the rest of the tax payers

Blame the Government ...more
By even flow (808), East Hampton on Jun 26, 16 9:35 AM
Tuckahoe is finished. Because of overcrowded housing. Period. End of discussion.
By Lets go mets (342), Southampton on Jun 26, 16 10:14 PM
Wow another uninformed liberal playing the race card, YAAAAAAWN. No one mentioned the race or races of the residents of the illegal multi family homes Gene
By bigfresh (4172), north sea on Jun 27, 16 6:13 AM
Oh c'mon. I'm an informed Independent voter who knows that Tuckahoe School is roughly 60% Latino. Those aren't French families in those homes to which you are referring. Save it.
By even flow (808), East Hampton on Jun 27, 16 8:04 AM
Do it for the kids Roflmao
By chief1 (2637), southampton on Jun 27, 16 12:55 PM
You didn't do it for the kids, you just did it for the teacher's union.

When the budget gets voted down, the state mandated increases for the teachers still go through. They get raises, increased benefits and pension payments as usual. The only things that get cut are educational programs. That's Cuomo's NY State. Nobody cares who you vote for, at least have the facts. Don't do it for the kids, do it for the teacher's union. Sucker.
By SlimeAlive (1139), Southampton on Jun 28, 16 6:47 AM
SlimeAlive basically nipped it in the bud - the ONLY things that DO NOT get cut when we the voters don't give over more hard earned $$ are the teachers benefits and salary etc . - guess I will come back as a teacher in tuckahoe in my next life and be paid a nice 6 plus figure salary with benefits and pension. Who's really in control of this thing !- it is sad to see the kids used as pawns in this debate.
By Jay Tuckahoe (7), Southampton on Jun 28, 16 7:57 AM
Looks like Phil has moved to SPEONK
By bigfresh (4172), north sea on Jun 29, 16 6:33 AM
any mention of race there? ILLEGAL IS ONLY A RACIST TERM TO LIBERALS
By bigfresh (4172), north sea on Jul 2, 16 9:01 AM
$19.2 million/350 students? $55,000 per student? OK.
Do they get a Ford F-150 at the start of each school year? Vote the school district out of existence. Or send them to private boarding school, it's cheaper.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jul 1, 17 2:07 PM