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Mar 16, 2011 1:14 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Springs Officials Meet With Parents To Explain Cost Cutting Options

Mar 16, 2011 1:14 PM

Dozens of concerned teachers and parents in the Springs School District, worried about potential teacher layoffs next year, gathered on Friday morning at the school to listen as district officials broke down their cost-cutting options for the 2011-12 budget year.

Those options include some program and teaching cuts or reductions, school officials said.

Before Friday’s meeting, the community had been buzzing with rumors that the district planned to cut dozens of teachers and programs next year. Seven district employees were laid off last year after district budget cuts.

Superintendent Michael Hartner laid out 33 potential cost-cutting measures the district is considering should it be unable to reach a new tuition agreement with East Hampton School District in the coming weeks before the Springs School Board adopts a proposed budget for the 2011-12 school year on April 11. The district currently spends a total of $7.1 million to send 262 students to East Hampton High School. That figures includes 255 students in regular programs at $23,858 per pupil and seven students in special education programs at a cost of $41,941 per student.

Springs has been in discussions with East Hampton about replacing the existing agreement with a new one that would reduce Springs’s tuition cost per student. Those tuition hikes were a major factor in property taxes rising by 4.8 percent last year when Springs passed the district’s $22.5 million 2010-2011 budget.

In the worst-case scenario, one in which the district is unable to make a deal with East Hampton, Springs would be forced to cut $1.4 million from the budget, using some of the options it has on the table, while property taxes would be expected to soar by 11.8 percent.

The largest of those options include departmentalizing the sixth grade, which would save the district $475,989, by having students remain in one classroom where they would be taught by a single teacher. Other options include changing the schedule from a nine-period day to an eight-period day and another calling for the reduction of both seventh and eighth grades to three sections each for a savings of $437,175; scaling back kindergarten to a half-day to save $276,501; cutting teaching assistants in first grade and kindergarten to trim $266,436; reducing or eliminating Spanish or science teachers to save $85,763 or $87,413, respectively; discontinuing middle school sports teams to trim $75,576; and reducing or eliminating field trips, extracurricular offerings and programs such as the Science Olympiads, intramurals and the fourth grade opera, among others.

Mr. Hartner said after the meeting that he could not speculate on how many teachers would be cut under those options.

Parents at the meeting were concerned about the impact that such measures would have on the school’s quality of education, and asked questions about whether the district had attempted to cut more materials rather than staff.

Cheryl Hartsough was one of them. She said she was concerned about the district losing quality teachers and teaching assistants and how that would affect learning for younger children.

“When you have 24 or 23 kids in a class, you really need the extra help at that young age, because it is easy to get distracted as a teacher when you have so many kids to keep track of,” she said. “It is very important to keep children learning when they are so young.”

Many of the possible reductions on the list would not be necessary and fewer budget cuts would be needed if Springs reaches a favorable tuition agreement with East Hampton. How much less, however, would depend on how much the Springs School Board would set its property tax rates, which has yet to be decided.

For example, if the district wanted to hold the property tax rate increase to 5 percent, it would require an additional $430,000 in cuts; if the board wants to keep the tax hike to 3 percent, an additional $630,000 would have to be cut.

Elizabeth Mendelman, a parent and president of the school’s Parent Teacher Association, said she was glad the board “laid their cards on the table. As parents, that is what we want to see. Let us know your ideas, then you hear some of our ideas and let us help you get there.”

School Board member John Grant said after the meeting that the budget situation was a “tough one,” but the board would take a look at all the information presented before making any budget decisions.

“This is scary for parents, scary for me. We are trying to get as much information out there as possible because we need everyone to get together on this. But a 12-percent tax increase would be too much for the community to bear,” he said.

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Why can't they amalgamate Springs and EH school districts?
By DogLover (14), Wainscott on Mar 16, 11 7:58 AM
Larger classes, teacher layoffs, program cuts and a 12% tax increase- thank you Anchor Babies.
By AARGHHH (12), Hamptons on Mar 16, 11 10:11 AM
1 member liked this comment
Ignorance, fear, racism, lies, hatred - thank you teaparty
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Mar 16, 11 10:29 AM
Ignorance, fear, racism, lies, hatred - thank you crackpot
By uncleronk (136), southold on Mar 16, 11 10:55 AM
Coming from someone who wishes death to people becasue they're "old and white".
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Mar 16, 11 12:21 PM
No uncleronk, you can ignore a crackpot. Razza is part of the rising tide of latino nationalism. Like the racist organization La Raza, Razza welcomes illegal immigrants and the price local communities have to pay in higher taxes, crime, and a steady degenration of quality of life in the name of "social justice".

You see, in Raza's mind it's quite simple. White people are ignorant, evil, and stole everything they have from Brown people.

Brown people on the other hand are filled ...more
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Mar 16, 11 12:44 PM
2 members liked this comment
Hey, realitylast, please point out where I wished someone dead. YOu have to resort to that kind of b s to make your point? Coward.
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Mar 16, 11 1:16 PM
People like realityfirst and underclonk are, unfortunately, a necessary evil. Every time they post they remind rational people that we must always be on guard against their particular brand of deception and ignorance. -

Think about the idea behind "anchor babies" - those who use that offensive phrase believe that an immigrant would come here, risk everything, leave behind friends, loved ones and their home, simply to have a child so that when that child reaches the age of 21 the parents ...more
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Mar 16, 11 1:51 PM
2 members liked this comment
With the current levels of enforcement, I'd say 21 years is a reasonable, long term plan.

There are people who have spent MORE than twenty years illegally in this country, simply by "keeping their head down, and their mouth shut".
By Mr. Z (11843), North Sea on Mar 16, 11 8:37 PM
progressnow:

Oh how romantic. Those desperate illegal immigrants, risking everything to come here...blah blah blah. I guess those who come here legally, respecting our laws and waiting there turn in line are fools fo doing so.

You call others deceptive, and here you are suggesting parents have to wait 21 years to benefit from anchor babies. Nonsense. Judges are extremely unlikely to deport illegal immigrant parents with a child who is a citizen, and the illegal immigrant community ...more
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Mar 17, 11 2:57 PM
2 members liked this comment
Progressnow - I don't know what's in your other 236 (!!) posts but hey - after reading this article even I get that the problem isn't the "illegals" (in houses or otherwise) that are the CAUSE of OUT OF CONTROL school taxes in Springs!! Not saying it's the school Board's "fault" - but it's not due to all of those "illegal houses" EITHER Bub! There were 23-24 kids in all of my grade and high school classes and I (somehow) managed to graduate from college and land a job - I even was a substitute ...more
By BonacP (22), East Hampton on Mar 16, 11 8:06 PM
I have to say, the conservatives are wrong with the teacher bashing, but they are right on with the illegals and anchor babies. The federal government has ignored this issue for so long, and Springs School is a microcosm of what many schools in the U.S. now deal with. This school has serious financial problems, and they relate directly to its population boom. If you cant see that, then you are blind.
By snapper (17), springs on Mar 16, 11 8:19 PM
Please back up your "anchor baby" assertions with facts from a reliable source. Just because you say it is so does not make it that way. In case you were unaware, many of our local schools are not only not overcrowded, but they are actually losing students due to completely over-inflated real estate

By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Mar 16, 11 9:02 PM
You are wrong about the "population boom" if you are talking about Springs School District Snapper - get your facts straight before you embarass yourself further.
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Mar 23, 11 5:01 PM
Change the law.

No more children simply born on American soil becoming citizens. Each child must have ONE naturalized, or citizen parent.

In 1911, such a policy being implemented was kind, generous, and possible with all the open, undeveloped frontier. It's 2011, folks...
By Mr. Z (11843), North Sea on Mar 16, 11 8:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
the population of the Springs School has sky rocketed over the past five years. This is no lie. Mr. Z the illegals use the 14th ammendment to their advantage. This ammendment was designed to prevent emancipated slaves and their children from being denied a public education. Birth right citizenship needs to be modified, to prevent people from abusing the system.
By snapper (17), springs on Mar 16, 11 9:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
The abuses of the Fourteenth Amendment are almost endless.

I can't even begin to relate how revolted, and disgusted I am at the farce such a historically significant piece of legislation, which fundamentally changed our society has become.
By Mr. Z (11843), North Sea on Mar 19, 11 12:31 AM
There is no end to the extreme hypocrisy of the immigration debate. The democrats and the president have offered real immigration reform, but the republicans block it. Why? Well, maybe this will provide some insight:

"Republican State Rep. Debbie Riddle — the same one who claimed in August 2010 that “former FBI agents” were informing her office that wealthy tourists were coming to the United States just to breed “little terrorists — has introduced House Bill ...more
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Mar 17, 11 10:42 AM
1 member liked this comment
Snapper's assessment of the situation hits the bullseye! Too many illegals who are here now (and firmly dug in with Anchor Babies) have learned to work the system all too well. And by the "system" this means free health care by just walking in to the nearest hospital, no questions asked. Free food by going to the various food pantries, no questions asked. And free education for their children, no questions asked when they show up to register. Don't we all look like chumps when we have to pay for ...more
By SisBoomBonacker (106), Hamptons on Mar 17, 11 5:00 PM
3 members liked this comment
"Anchor babies" are right wing mythology. The term itself is one of the most degrading and racist in our society today. 27East is a haven for rampant racists who spread falsehoods and hate. I realize that the few far-right bigots that post here are not emblematic of our community as a whole - their ignorance puts them in a category all their own. Capt'n America is one of the most un-American voices I have ever had the displeasure of "meeting" and his friends are a close second. Best to allow ...more
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Mar 17, 11 5:21 PM
2 members liked this comment
ProgressNOW (doesn't that name conjure images of a the typical petulant liberal child. WAH!!! I want it NOW!)

You call us ignorant, while denying illegal immigration is a problem. In fact, you seem to wholeheartedly support it. Why?


By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Mar 17, 11 8:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
Ah well, our resident whining woman-child hit her 2 comment limit for the day.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Mar 17, 11 8:21 PM
It seems that in Montauk Mr. Perna will earn $159,338 next year, the same as this year. In Springs the Supe makes 12% more than last year. mmmm, I think that Springs should go for a part time supe. Let the community vote for it. I prefere to keep more teachers and assistants.
By atomic (6), Springs on Mar 17, 11 11:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
and Perna has been a fixture in MTK for 30 years. Mr. hartner however was given this raise by the Springs Board of Ed. he could have refused it, but the board should take the bulk of the blame on this one. And now they cry that the school has no money, and we need to cut or reduce staffing. Please explain how this helps our kids?
By snapper (17), springs on Mar 18, 11 7:42 PM
Excuseme, it is not 12% it is 17.5% MORE !!!
By atomic (6), Springs on Mar 17, 11 11:12 PM
Certainly school superintendents in general, are overpaid, as are many teachers (half the teachers in Springs make over $100,00 a year, for working only 185 days a year, plus they get lifetime free medical and rich retirement packages that can only be dreamed of in the private sector). Look at Gualtieri - he's incompetent, making over $250K a year, plus we have to pay for his retirement and for lifetime medical for he AND his spouse - it's ridiculous. However, at least Hartner is competent, and ...more
By jperrier (53), Springs on Mar 19, 11 11:20 AM
Make all public school tuition access only. Cash up front. Then eliminate the taxes
residents have to pay altogether. This will reduce class size, while retaining the best teachers. And of course no sugar laden drinks in the vending machines!

Ha! Nibble on that one for a bit...
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on Mar 18, 11 10:52 AM
Yeah, let's go back to the good old days when only the aristocracy was educated! Great idea. Hey, we could even bring back serfdom and anyone making under $250,000 year would lose their voting privileges! Better yet, let's just deport the poor and the middle class along with all of the "illegals" and just import ALL of our crap from China for the country of elites, after all, those pesky low-wage earners are just an eyesore.
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Mar 18, 11 11:06 AM
What about self education?

Not everyone can be Abe Lincoln, but the majortiy of us can read a book.
By Mr. Z (11843), North Sea on Mar 19, 11 12:25 AM
Whoa! A friend said I might like to visit and participate in some current discussions of interest. As a new subscriber to this online edition (I admit I am not too comfortable with technology!) I am glad I decided not to pay for the premium service. Reading through some headlines relating to education (a subject near and dear to my heart, my wife was an educator) I am both saddened and disgusted by much of what I see here. Such anger towards teachers and such hatred for immigrants. It is like ...more
By markmontina (2), Southampton on Mar 18, 11 11:28 AM
2 members liked this comment
how can you equate segregation with illegals? What a rediculous comparison. The segregated blacks in the south were U.S. citizens. Illegals should not even be here. Boy I agree that the teacher bashing is too harsh, but some of you here are lost with your support of illegals. They are a HUGE burden to tax paying middle class families. How in the heck do you not see that? And why do you feel the need to defend theri illegal behavior? There is also nothing racist about using the term anchor babies. ...more
By snapper (17), springs on Mar 18, 11 9:35 PM
2 members liked this comment
I agree with the Captn here.

You need to draw the line between the issues, and the people.

Lose the Polemics, and the progress made toward solving "problems" might be quite reasonable.
Mar 19, 11 12:22 AM appended by Mr. Z
There's an old euphemism that I just recalled: "Worry less about who is right, than what is right."
By Mr. Z (11843), North Sea on Mar 19, 11 12:22 AM
hey markmo....silence is not golden.....speak up
By uncleronk (136), southold on Mar 20, 11 4:48 PM
Certainly school superintendents in general, are overpaid, as are many teachers (half the teachers in Springs make over $100,00 a year, for working only 185 days a year, plus they get lifetime free medical and rich retirement packages that can only be dreamed of in the private sector). Look at Gualtieri - he's incompetent, making over $250K a year, plus we have to pay for his retirement and for lifetime medical for he AND his spouse - it's ridiculous. However, at least Hartner is competent, and ...more
By jperrier (53), Springs on Mar 19, 11 11:23 AM
Here's a basic history lesson for many of you who seem to have forgotten: this country was built on immigrants. Now, if Native Americans had the power to expel all unwelcome immigration, would you have said "oh all right, I'll return to famine and religious persecution," or would you have asked yourself "Why don't I deserve a chance at a better life, for myself and for my children?"
Fast forward to the year 2011. America still has an influx of immigration, but now the "natives" have the power ...more
By seacabo (1), East Hampton on Mar 20, 11 10:48 AM
thanks for the history lesson, but it's about the costs involved in our taxes to pay for education. let the users pay a user fee, otherwise known as TUITION. you wanna learn at this school? pay at the door. thank you we appreciate yor business.
By uncleronk (136), southold on Mar 20, 11 4:35 PM
Hey, no one is disputing the rights of LEGAL IMMIGRANTS to come here, try & buide a better life and raise/school their children here. We should all welcome them! The legal immigrants quickly realize they have to become part of our system, pay taxes, pay for healthcare, and most important, give back to their communities in way such as donating blood, volunteering for fire & ambulance, donating to food pantries etc.
It's the ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS at issue here. Cross the border illegally, work for ...more
By SisBoomBonacker (106), Hamptons on Mar 20, 11 3:44 PM
2 members liked this comment
My father came here, too.

LEGALLY.
By Mr. Z (11843), North Sea on Mar 22, 11 12:06 AM
No one argues against immigrants. Illegal aliens are NOT immigrants. Why the heck can't you people figure this out? Immigrants come here legally and do things the right way. I am so sick of people defending illegals.
By snapper (17), springs on Mar 20, 11 7:43 PM
What the Board is now facing and talking about is a budget that has NOTHING to do with "legals" or "illegals" - an audience member at a recent meeting asked the school board to confirm that the school enrollment in K-8 has only increased by 50 or so plus students in Springs OVER THE LAST DECADE - that was confirmed. Nice job by Chris Kelley to try and deflect the issue of what has gone on in Springs with the school budget and tax hikes in the last 10 years . .. but I can assure all it wasn't an ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Mar 22, 11 9:44 PM
Thank you, board watcher. Your comments are exactly correct. It is the same for my school district. The Latino population of the school (and you cannot equate Latino with "illegal") has increased but the overall school population has only risen slightly.

As happens throughout the history of this country, when things are tough, immigrants, documented or otherwise, become scapegoats. Let's focus on real ways to help our schools and stop with the unwarranted attack on immigrants.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Mar 23, 11 12:57 PM
The problem is that schools in new york are at the bottom of the food chain. They get the money from the local govt, school taxesfrom homeowners who are broke and i believe will not vote for any increse and the state who also has no money the only one in theory who has money is the feds .The feds have money because they have a printing press. springs like many other districts will have to reduce costs until times get better or they get a bailout. it is up to the school board and ...more
By rick58 (2), East Hampton on Mar 23, 11 12:17 PM
Right on Rick -- like it or not Project Most (which I wholeheartedly support and donate to) and the pre-K program (ditto) may be luxeries right now that taxes raised in the school district simply cannot support . . . it has nothing to do with "wants" or whether it is "better for the kids" - of COURSE these programs are better for the kids, and the community as a whole (they certainly give working parents subsidized, quality child-care options and programs that wouldn't ordinarily be available!) ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Mar 23, 11 4:58 PM
The problem is that schools in new york are at the bottom of the food chain. They get the money from the local govt, school taxesfrom homeowners who are broke and i believe will not vote for any increse and the state who also has no money the only one in theory who has money is the feds .The feds have money because they have a printing press. springs like many other districts will have to reduce costs until times get better or they get a bailout. it is up to the school board and ...more
By rick58 (2), East Hampton on Mar 23, 11 12:17 PM