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Apr 16, 2010 2:39 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town organizes forum to help school districts work together

Apr 16, 2010 2:39 PM

Southampton Town Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone is taking the reins in helping school districts in Southampton Town work together to save money, and he made the first move toward that goal by organizing a forum on the matter April 7.

Representatives from Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services spoke to superintendents from a number of school districts about services that they offer to save money, such as shared transportation, shared business office staff and shared food service managers. Those services could save districts 19 percent on some costs, explained Colleen Lipponer, a BOCES representative.

A number of East End districts participate in at least some of the services, although Bridgehampton Superintendent Dr. Dianne Youngblood explained that her district’s location makes joining in difficult sometimes.

The forum, held at Stony Brook Southampton, was part of Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s efforts to bring together school districts to realize tax savings. She discussed the issue in her State of the Town address earlier this month and noted during the meeting that Mr. Zappone did the majority of the work on the forum.

During the session, Sag Harbor Superintendent Dr. John Gratto put forth an idea about having a shared school business official, a venture he at one point hoped to explore with Bridgehampton. Dr. Youngblood, however, said that she was not interested because small district like hers would want its own official on hand to answer any questions that might come up. She did say that her district would consider looking into sharing payroll staff with other districts and noted that she already shares an external claims auditor with Sag Harbor and East Hampton.

Also at the meeting, Town Assessor Ed Deyermond and John Valente, senior appraisal systems analyst for Southampton Town, went over the tax assessments for the districts. Many of the more typically affluent districts, such as Bridgehampton, Sagaponack and Sag Harbor, have enjoyed an increase in their assessments, even in the face of the struggling economy. Other districts, like Hampton Bays, Eastport and Riverhead saw their assessments fall in value anywhere from 2 to 20 percent. Mr. Deyermond noted that the assessment numbers are not yet final.

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how about eliminating the office of "superintendant" for each of these small school districts and making one supervisor handle all the schools in southampton town? would save about $3 million per year in salary and benefits.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Apr 16, 10 9:37 PM
3 members liked this comment
fhat would make gratto go back to be a princpal thats were he belongs
what a waste of money

By john o (34), southampton on Apr 16, 10 10:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
As stated above getting rid of duplicate staff would probably be one way of saving even more money. Centralization of certain district functions is a reality that is coming whether the district administrators like it or not. NY State and school district taxpayers can no longer foot the bill for unnecessary duplication. This is, at least, a good start.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Apr 18, 10 5:22 PM
Little kingdoms, each watching out for its own turf.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Apr 19, 10 4:07 PM
1 member liked this comment