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Nov 30, 2012 5:40 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Tuckahoe School Officials Ask Lawmakers For Help, Painting A Dark Financial Future

Dec 5, 2012 11:23 AM

The Tuckahoe School Board presented a bleak financial future last Thursday night, November 29, to an audience of elected officials and taxpayers.

The district’s budget projections were sobering: Without piercing the 2-percent New York State tax levy cap in the 2013-14 school year, the district could reach a $1 million budget deficit, one that would only grow in subsequent years.

Officials outlined the district’s efforts to maintain programs while keeping up with unfunded state mandates, high tuition rates for matriculating students, soaring employee benefits costs, and decreasing assessed property values. Those issues have pushed the board toward a merger feasibility study with the Southampton School District, as well as consideration of an exclusivity deal to send high school students only to Southampton High School next year, rather than letting students choose between Southampton High School and the lower-priced Westhampton Beach High School. Southampton offered lower tuition payments in exchange that would save the district an estimated $600,000. Tuckahoe does not have a high school and must pay tuition to other districts to educate its high school-age students.

“There are stark realities without a lot of simple solutions,” School Board Chairman Dr. Daniel Crough said of the district’s fiscal situation.

The elected officials who were present—State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman and a representative from U.S. Representative Tim Bishop’s office—said that although there’s not much they can do about the state’s tax levy cap, which limits the district’s ability to raise taxes, and falling assessments, they would assist in finding funding for the merger feasibility study and a possible consolidation, as well as pushing for mandate relief.

According to Tuckahoe Business Official Keri Loughlin, in order to keep the same programs in place for the 2013-14 school year, the budget would need to be approximately $18.5 million, which is an $814,452 increase from this year’s budget. The amount is pushed up by contracted expenses, as well as the cost of employee benefits, which is expected to increase from $2.5 million this year to $3.2 million next year, a hike of more than 29 percent.

But covering an $18.5 million budget would require a tax levy increase of an estimated 9.5 percent, or about $1.5 million. In reality, the state-mandated tax cap prevents the district from asking taxpayers for that high of an increase, unless there is a vote by taxpayers to pierce the cap—unlikely, since even this year’s original budget, which stayed under the tax cap, was voted down by taxpayers in May.

If the School Board raises the tax levy by the maximum 2 percent for the 2013-14 school year, the district still would face an estimated $1 million deficit, Ms. Loughlin said. If the district does not increase its tax levy, it would incur an estimated $1.2 million budget deficit—and that would increase in the coming years, eventually hitting an estimated $2.8 million deficit for the 2015-16 school year.

Like all school districts across the state, Tuckahoe has been dealt a blow by unfunded state mandates, such as the tax levy cap and Annual Professional Performance Review teacher assessments, as well as new education requirements. According to Ms. Loughlin, the APPR has cost Tuckahoe an estimated $53,367 to implement thus far, including training and substitute teacher costs, purchasing the computer program needed for the assessments, adhering to the state’s newly adopted common core standards, and other related expenses.

The state has also mandated that within two years, state exams must be taken on computers, Ms. Loughlin said. In order to comply, the district has spent approximately $72,356 on new computers. New special education requirements have also caused an increase of $11,370 in the spending plan.

“If you add these up, it is the cost of one teacher and possibly the support of a teacher’s assistant,” Ms. Loughlin said.

Just this year, the district had to lay off an elementary science teacher, a special education teacher and a part-time social worker to cut costs.

“Tuckahoe started trying to eliminate costs with the recession two years before the implementation of the tax cap,” said Dr. Crough. “Then the state took over and doubled up on trying to respond to the state’s needs and taxpayers’ needs. We were poorly positioned for that, because we cut so much out of the budget. We can’t cut anymore.”

Hoping to offer some solace, Mr. Thiele said he agreed that the unfunded state mandates have been a burden on schools. “I always thought if the state thinks it’s a good idea, we should be paying for it,” he said. “The governor needs to have the same political will for mandate relief as he did for the tax cap.”

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Predator Nation.

'nuff said.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Nov 30, 12 8:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Then get the hell out, unless you're a fool or enjoy being a victim.

Are you waiting for someone to rescue you?
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Dec 1, 12 1:26 PM
He don't know me very well do he?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 1, 12 6:52 PM
It's time to consolidate schools as soon as possible. We don't need to spend hundreds of thousands to figure out Tuckahoe needs to be merged with Southampton. We can get rid of a couple greedy administrators and duplicate expenses at Tuckahoe that will save millions. The education situation will become even worse in the future. The federal govt will be giving less to states, and the state will have less money to fund with. This country needs to take it Obama medicine of cuts, and education is ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 30, 12 9:13 PM
2 members liked this comment
Always some ignorant git looking for a way to blame Hispanic kids. Why don't you focus your rage on the real culprits, rich, entitled golf course owners and their corporate welfare tax breaks? Open your eyes and your mind and focus on real solutions instead of racial scapegoating. Sounds like you and your tea party comrades will never realize you've lost, eh? Your simplistic, hate-filled view of things is not the solution, but the problem, chief
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Dec 1, 12 3:48 PM
Focus your rage on the people that pay the bills. And the usual suspects approve of that comment. Makes sense.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Dec 9, 12 7:06 AM
It never fails some ignorant Liberal will twist the words of someone telling the truth. First off I'm not a tea Party person I am an independent, and I actually like some Democrats such as our Governor. I like where you think I am blaming Hispanic kids when I am actually blaming their parents. They have many children they can't afford and live many kids to a house and on top of it most don't pay income tax. Not to mention on North Hwy there is a hotel that costs the district over one million dollar ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 1, 12 6:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
Chief, even if an unthinking, tea party, talking point zombie can be considered independent, you would still have failed to earn the distinction. You are to intelligence and coherence what Rush Limbaugh is to charm and good looks.
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Dec 1, 12 8:30 PM
"Independent-isn't that what all republicans are calling themselves these days?"

Nope, just the ones who have misplaced their principles.
By Mr. Snerdley (397), Southampton on Dec 1, 12 8:58 PM
If you actually think that a corporation pays that 38%, it's no wonder your posts read the way they do.

As I recall, some pay even pay ZERO and get subsidies on top of that.

Those who have the gold, have conveniently written the rules. Bastiat was right as rain when he penned that phrase about plunder. We now have a society which glorifies it.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 2, 12 10:04 AM
What corporation that made money paid no income tax? Stop reading crap and thinking it's real. You pretend to be a self proclaimed expert on financials, but you puke up non sense. The oil industry pays hundreds of billions a year in income tax in fact companies like Chevron pay over 20 billion a year to the feds alone not to mention state, payroll, and sales tax. Why dont you mention Solyandra the billion dollar loss for taxpayers after just 2 years something Pres Obama was involved in. Why no mention? ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 2, 12 6:37 PM
You can go to Reuters, Forbes, pick your source, but what you will find is that during the most recent study done (2011 not in the study), 30 out of 280 Fortune 500 companies paid zero income tax. In fact, the highest negative tax rate due to subsidies, loopholes, and amoritization calculations was 57%.

The average effective tax rate after loopholes and deductions was 18% by the most recent study. So, keep blathering and b******* about the "highest tax rate in the world", which almost ...more
Dec 2, 12 7:58 PM appended by Mr. Z
Almost forgot. When it comes to Solyndra, their failure had FAR more to do with their business model. Though innovative in design, the cost of materials dropped to a point where flat panels were more economical. Looks like a victim of the "free market" from here. Only difference is that unlike so many other failures, they had a DOE loan.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 2, 12 7:58 PM
Still waiting genius what corporation paid no taxes? Come on look it up and paste it up here. Did you know most of your points are excerpts from the internet? Do you have an opinion or thought of yoour own? I doubt it.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 3, 12 3:59 PM

Let's just get wasty pants.

~ Snooki
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Dec 3, 12 4:28 PM
Thank you Henrietta.

It seems it is too much for chief to educate himself. We simply must hold him by his hand so he knows what we are talking about.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 3, 12 6:11 PM
Tax dodging? What the hell are you talking about? These companies had no profit or brought losses foward. Thats tax dodging? If you lost your job and had no income would you pay taxees? Even when they didn't pay federal income taxes they still employ millions pay billions in state tax, sales tax, fuel tax among taxes. You guys should educate yourself rather than spewing your nonsense on subjects you know little about.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 4, 12 12:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
Cook the books ala Enron, and what you think you believe is possible.

"I'll believe corporations are people, when Texas starts executing corporations."

~ Robert Reich
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 4, 12 9:52 PM
You tell em Z. All companies are cooking the books, risking jail time for executives and risking the companies existence just like Enron.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Dec 9, 12 7:14 AM
Actually it is widely used by Dems. Check your local pols like Anna or flip flop Freddie.
By double-D (96), southampton on Dec 9, 12 12:09 PM
We have come to the fork in the road!!!! Many have stated their opinons
of what has effected our schools and in my opinion, increasing the density
for Suffolk County was accomplished by the OPEN DOOR POLICY we have
of welcoming everybody-- including those who have broken our laws and
have received entitlements and have placed a burden on our taxpaying
citizens! When will our citizens realize that they have been taken advantage
of by the "special interest groups"??? We ...more
By East Ender (64), Southampton on Dec 2, 12 7:53 AM
Has the increased number of students in the Tuckahoe school been accompanied by an equal number of NEW HOMES in the district?
If so, congrats to all the newly arrived homeowners from south of the border. If not, there's the root of the problem.
The whole system is upside down. The system worked when a family paying taxes on a house sent a couple of kids to school, some families were bigger, but the average was 2 or 3 kids. Now , in Tuckahoe particularly, there are houses with 2 of 3 families ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 2, 12 8:26 AM
2 members liked this comment
If you live in the district, even if you rent, the house you live in pays taxes to the school. The school has very strict residency rules and the verify it! Bling the Latino community is a canard!
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Dec 2, 12 10:47 AM
If you rent a house the ownerpays the property taxes, true statement Witch. When 3 families live in said house and send ALL their kids to school, the taxes collected don't cover ALL those kids!! Simple math sweetheart. Do you see the problem now?
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Dec 2, 12 5:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yeah. I see a problem. It takes three families to afford a home.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 2, 12 8:02 PM
2 members liked this comment
Probably a little of both.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 2, 12 9:30 PM
Why don't you offer some proof that that is happening in Tuckahoe, sweetheart? Put your petty money where your big mouth is.
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Dec 3, 12 2:22 PM
hi - i put rwo examples below -- 5 Underhill, SH 11968 and 76 North Highway (bear right heading west at teh Lobster Inn ..just before the entrance to highway is that nasty little 'motel'place that id love to own but i dont .. many many many kids stop there each mornign to get on TWO school buses)
By david h (405), southampton on Dec 3, 12 10:31 PM
golf courses need to pay more taxes
By deKooning (106), southampton on Dec 3, 12 9:58 AM
Sure tax the ones that have nothing to do with the school nor send any kids to school. That's not to mention the millions they bring to local businesses. How about you charge these people that cram 3 families into each house?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 3, 12 3:57 PM
so you advocate second homeowners not paying school taxes as well? They also have nothing to do with nor send any kids to school.
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Dec 4, 12 4:03 AM
in Tuckahoe, the address 5 Underhill, had approximately 20 kids going to Tuckahoe fro almost 4 years. its a 3 bed/2 bath house. its over now after 4 years of complaints. call the police and inquire how many complaints they had recieved about that place ..and over how long (yes since Rafael purchased it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). oh it was lso horrible pace for 20 kids late at night duing all the parties and wehn they were left by tmeselves many days after school until the adults drove over to pick them ...more
By david h (405), southampton on Dec 3, 12 9:03 PM
The house at 5 Underhill has been vacant this entire school year. There are no students registered at that address. As for the motel on North Rd - that needs to be addressed by the Town Code Enforcement and the Town administration - the school can do nothing but report what they see. It's up to the TOWN to enforce it - don't blame the school!!
By tuckahoemom (19), Southampton on Dec 4, 12 3:47 PM
yes..5years of complaints in the making & finally the poor children who had to live there with all the parties and confusion are safe somewhere else.
..it was so very sad to see them essentially abandoned in th yard of 5 Underhill until their parents or guardians or, HA 'cousins' would eventually drive over to pick them up and take them home.
... poor reflection on the police and child services. but surely the school must have seen too many 5 Underhill addresses associated with these poor ...more
By david h (405), southampton on Dec 6, 12 11:50 AM
The board members, expressing concern about the school’s future, asked the officials for support in light of state mandates, such as the tax levy cap and Annual Professional Performance Review teacher assessments.

By BizworldusaGcm (1), on Dec 4, 12 2:40 AM
Everyone is right and also wrong first off the teacher assesments costing 45k is not to blame that's 1/3 of one percent of the budget. It's probably 1/3 of the pension that some administrators get. Richly undeserved as they are the one partly responsible for the mess. Ineptitude should not be rewarded. Anyway yes added immigrants are part of the problem we should not be educating giving healthcare and foodstamps to people who are here ILLEGALLY. Come the proper way documented and with papers as ...more
By maxwell (169), speonk on Dec 4, 12 2:04 PM
One of Obamas biggest contributers wants taxes raised on the rich and under 250 k He just doesn't want to pay it himself

When President Obama needed a business executive to come to his campaign defense, Jim Sinegal was there. The Costco COSTO co-founder, director and former CEO even made a prime-time speech at the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte. So what a surprise this week to see that Mr. Sinegal and the rest of the Costco board voted to give themselves a special dividend to ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 4, 12 2:35 PM
Blah Blah Blah.....Costco is helping their executives and share holders dodge 750 million in taxes. You are so blind and ignorant on any subject and can't comprehend how crooked politics are. By the way everything in a costco is from China, India or some other country treating their employees unfairly. So don't tell me they are worried about people making 2 dollars a day.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 5, 12 12:05 AM
What does any of this have to do with the inept idiots running our schools? Focus on the problem. Why does it cost 18.5 million dollars to educate 300 kids. Lets add in all the kids in SHSD and WHSD so maybe 500 thats over 30k each. Mostschool districts on LI do it with 15k per student. If the government can tax me and then give to those who are lazy,udeducated and unmotivated then I think they can set school salaries how about 75k tops for teachers and 100k for administrators. Set by law like the ...more
By maxwell (169), speonk on Dec 5, 12 12:35 PM
1 member liked this comment